There are now more aircrafts in the sky than ever before. And because of this, there has been an inevitable rise in emissions caused by aviation and in noise pollution. According to the latest European Aviation Environmental Report, carbon dioxide emissions increased by 16% between 2005 and 2017. The levels of nitrogen oxide increased by 25%.
When you consider that aviation already accounts for 2-3% of global emissions, and the predictions that the number of flights will rise by another 42% in the next twenty years, it’s not surprising that there are concerns over the impact of air travel on the environment. Furthermore, forecasts show that emissions could rise by another 15-20% in the same period.
In addition to this, the report found that, despite noise levels from each flight being lower now, the total noise pollution was higher. This is due to the higher volume of flights. It’s estimated that, now, the number of people affected by noise pollution caused by aviation is up 14% since 2014.
In response to the report, EU officials have acknowledged that increased flights has had a negative impact on the environment, health, and noise pollution. However, they noted that new standards, which were introduced to control noise and performance of aircrafts, have helped in stopping the problem from escalating further.
In the report, it was pointed out that firms need to incorporate new technology in the future. This could be an effective strategy in limiting the harmful effects of air travel. Some of these strategies include sustainable fuel, better fuel consumptions, and “electrofuels”. This is crucial is the EU is to meet its 2030 targets, as set out in the Paris Agreement.
Although this could be met from opposition from the industry, according to EU transport chief Violeta Bul, “it is a priority that the future growth of aviation goes hand in hand with sustainability policies” and that “growth for the sale of growth cannot be an objective in itself”.
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