Carbon dioxide emitted by commercial flights rose by 32% from 2013 to 2018, study show
The UK is responsible for 4% of global aviation CO2, according to researchers. Photograph: Alamy
Worldwide CO2 emissions from commercial flights are rising up to 70% faster than predicted by the UN, according to an analysis.
Carbon dioxide emitted by airlines increased by 32% from 2013 to 2018, according to a study by the International Council on Clean Transportation.
Researchers said the rate of growth far exceeded that used to develop projections for CO2 emissions by the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization.
The ICCT report says: “The implied annual compound growth rate of emissions, 5.7%, is 70% higher than those used to develop ICAO’s projections that CO2 emissions from international aviation will triple under business as usual by 2050.”
The total increase over the past five years was equivalent to building about 50 coal-fired power plants, the ICCT calculated. The study shows the UK is responsible for 4% of global aviation CO2 emissions, behind only the US (24%) and China (13%).
Domestic flights in the US and China account for a quarter of all aviation emissions. The US, China and EU account for 55% of all emissions.
The scheme is framed to allow aviation to continue to grow but reduce its net footprint by purchasing carbon emission offsets – or funding a carbon dioxide saving elsewhere. Although aviation accounts for just over 2% of all global emissions, that proportion is expected to expand significantly as other sectors such as energy make more rapid progress to decarbonise.
A forecast released by Airbus on Wednesday said the number of commercial aircraft in operation would double to 48,000 planes worldwide by 2038. It predicted urbanisation and an emerging middle class would fuel rapid growth, particularly in the Asia-Pacific. MORE