Aircraft emissions

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Merlyn
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Aircraft emissions

Postby Merlyn » 03 Feb 2010, 17:17

Why does this pollution go completely unchecked?
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/prog ... index.html
http://www.icao.int/icao/en/env/aee.htm
Aircraft emit staggering amounts of CO2, the most prevalent manmade greenhouse gas. In fact, they currently account for 12 percent of CO2 emissions from U.S. transportation sources and 3 percent of the United States’ total CO2 emissions. All told, the United States is responsible for nearly half of worldwide CO2 emissions from aircraft.

In addition to CO2, aircraft emit nitrogen oxides, known as NOx, which contribute to the formation of ozone, another greenhouse gas. Emissions of NOx at high altitudes result in greater concentrations of ozone than ground-level emissions. Aircraft also emit water vapor at high altitudes, creating condensation trails or “contrails,” visible cloud lines that form in cold, humid atmospheres and contribute to the warming impacts of aircraft emissions. The persistent formation of contrails is associated with increased cirrus cloud cover, which also warms the Earth’s surface. All told, aircraft’s high-altitude emissions have a greater global warming impact than they would if the emissions were released at ground level.

Alarmingly, aircraft emissions are expected to more than triple by mid-century. But the Center is working to make sure that prediction doesn’t come true: In December 2007, we joined with states, regional governments, and other conservation groups to petition the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to address the effects of aircraft pollution under the Clean Air Act. The agency continued to drag its feet on the issue, so in July 2008 the Center and allies filed a notice of intent to sue the agency for its failure to address global warming pollution from both ships and aircraft.

It’s crucial that the Environmental Protection Agency and air industry do their part to fight global warming. This means adopting operational measures to minimize fuel use and reduce emissions from aircraft; requiring the use of lighter, more efficient airplanes; and producing and using cleaner jet fuels.
A more in-depth essay on the subject;
http://climatelab.org/Airplane_emissions

So how is it that;
this has never been addressed?
There are absolutely no emission controls on aircraft.
The Expanded Scope of Policy-making

In the past, ICAO's policy-making to address the environmental impact of aircraft engine emissions focused primarily on the ground level effects. In recent years, the scope has been expanded to include the global impact of aircraft engine emissions.

In this regard, the Kyoto Protocol (pdf) (1997) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is of particular importance. The Protocol, which entered into force on 16 February 2005, requires countries listed in Annex I to the Convention (industrialized countries) to reduce their collective emissions of six greenhouse gases, the one most relevant to aviation being carbon dioxide (CO2). International aviation emissions are currently excluded from the targets. Instead, Article 2, paragraph 2 of the Kyoto Protocol states that the responsibility for limiting or reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation bunker fuels shall fall to the Annex I Parties, working through ICAO.

In 2007, the ICAO Assembly requested the Council (Assembly Resolution A36-22 (pdf), Appendix K) to continue to study policy options to limit or reduce the environmental impact of aircraft engine emissions and to develop concrete proposals and provide advice as soon as possible to the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. It called for special emphasis to be placed on the use of technical solutions while continuing consideration of market-based measures, and taking into account potential implications for developing as well as developed countries.
The "rational argument" is that aircraft overall use less fuel than having each person drive a car.
However, the entire issue of emissions is thus overlooked!
Cars have emission controls, aircraft do not. With the argument; no one drives a car across the ocean, nor would they even consider most travel if they had to drive there.
Most importantly, aircraft emit high levels of NO2 that cars do not, directly into the upper atmosphere where they affect ozone levels the greatest.

To be green is definitely not to fly.
I will address boats in another thread.
Merlyn /|\
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Charlene
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Re: Aircraft emissions

Postby Charlene » 08 Jun 2011, 08:39

While I agree that planes, or at least jets anyways, do produce a lot of CO2 in emissions....high up in the atmosphere. I am not sure how quickly it gets into the atmosphere generally....my science is a little weak. It may have a larger impact, but I am not sure how long it takes to mix into the rest of the atmosphere. I know that from the ground into the air, any pollutant will take two years to circulate around the world, creating an atmospheric soup of various gases. At that level, where the air is thin and we are close to outerspace, I am hearing that scientists think it has more impact, but based on what, exactly? I hear a lot of opinion, but I would like to know what is the facts backing it up. Not because the numbers are high or low, but climate change is controversial, in that politics distorts scientific messaging, and makes me want to know who the source is and how their research is paid for. Years ago, we got rid of CFCs because it disrupted the ozone layer, which prevents harmful radiation from damaging our skin from the sun, so now something that makes more ozone higher up, near that layer, is a problem?? You see where I am wondering why the story is shifting? Is the ozone a good or bad thing? Like, if it prevents us from burning to a crisp in the sun, is that a problem??

I am concerned that this is a technology that emits a lot, and pilots on commercial flights call it "the bus". It is a form of mass transit. In places like Canada, hours away from everything, it is almost a requirement to go anywhere. I have done the three day drive to visit my parents. Problem is that it takes quite a bit of time to travel, and so for the family, that trip to see the relatives needs time and money, and driving is most economical, from both an ecological and financial perspective. However, even for distance driving, hybrids do not make that much difference in fuel economy. The way those cars work, stopping and starting creates electricity, which can drive the car, and use less fuel. It is the stop start driving of the city environment that makes regular cars so inefficient. But, for long hauls, regular efficient vehicles do better.

That being said, I think that aviation needs to look at alternatives that use less CO2, and maybe turbine jets are not the answer. Maybe a plane that does what the hybrid car does....combines electricity and gas, or in the case of the plane, gliding and flying, are the answer. I remember that gliding was the way young people were taught basic flying skills in air cadet programs for young people. So, I do not seeing cutting out flying as the answer, but maybe some new way of combining what we know about how flight happens will create a new technology for it. Because while boats can do the big trips, they takes out a lot of time, and is really riskier than flying from a safety perspective. That being said, high fuel prices and the economic crash have probably dampened a lot of air travel, as well as added security that comes with flying, which gives some folks a reason to look at ground transportation and public transit again. I know that I fly less because of cost, and I doubt that will change any time soon. That high fuel prices will raise fares, and that will slow some travel down.

My brother is an aircraft mechanic. There is so much pressure on making sure the plane is able to fly that the liability of the plane coming out of the sky after you touched it is high, so high, in fact that they are the one industry that has made communication skills a big part of their training....more so than marketing or any other industry. I believe that if a need for new aviation fuel technologies or lower CO2 emissions technology was put on the table as the next required research, it will go.

Webinars and video conferencing can only do so much. And, people have travelled for centuries, and made the time to do it. Europeans have no idea how much time ground travel takes here, and while not flying for them makes sense in terms of footprint, I am not sure it does here. They are close enough to drive or take a ferry to get somewhere else in the same day. Gosh, we have people who can only access emergency medical in Canada via planes or helicopters, because not all that specialists or the equipment are where they live. So, I think that footprint needs to come first from lifestyle and industrial process reductions.
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Re: Aircraft emissions

Postby Charlene » 25 Jun 2011, 18:49

In response to those folks that flying is not green, here is some information about what the aviation is doing to try and become more fuel and emission efficient. Pose the question, and then folks have a target to achieve.
http://www.seatguru.com/articles/green ... rlines.php


This article talks about the methodology of measuring, or better, estimating emissions. It would seem that we would need better data in order to comply with emissions laws. I hope they find ways to solve this.

http://www.ipcc-nggip.iges.or.jp/public ... rcraft.pdf

And another from the aviation body looking into and encouraging research on the problem.

http://www.icao.int/icao/en/atb/


I am finding with my quick Google on the subject that most of the information from environmentalists seem to be quoting the same stuff repeatedly. I figure for this forum, I would put these links here for people wanting to research more.

FYI. In Canada, passenger train service across the continent ceased to exist a number of years ago, due to a lack of passengers and costs. There is still a train service, that is prices at double or triple the cost of a cross country flight. The prices for flights cap at around 900 dollars or so from bc to ontario, and going further adds no additional cost to flights. Bus is about half of the cost of flight, but to go from one side to the other by bus would take about a week of travel time. Further, bus service is not available across the country. In cities, most have transit systems, and larger centres are investing in rapid transit train systems, that are greener, cheaper and more efficient in terms of travel time. Not all cities have this. Smaller cities do not. In my community, due to the geography, bad air days, to reduce emissions, the community offers FREE public transit on the buses to get people out of their cars, problem is, the system is not faster or more efficient in terms of time. Still the approach of free transit to improve air quality has its appeal.

I guess what I am saying is that for Europe, where there is an infrastructure of public transportation through buses and trains, why take a plane? When I travel to Europe, or even to an OBOD event, I will likely be flying, and taking a combination of public transportation to get there. Here though, it is not practical due to distances and lack of infrastructure.
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Charlene

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katie bridgewater
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Re: Aircraft emissions

Postby katie bridgewater » 25 Jun 2011, 19:22

It is possible to be American and travel the world without using aeroplanes. I know because I have met Americans who made it across the pond and travelled all over the world without getting off the ground at all. Walking, cycling or driving, horse, train and boat are all options. Everyone who got to the Americas or Australia or indeed anywhere until about 50 years ago managed with just walking, horse, and boat, and later train. It takes time and commitment to your principles. That is all.

It is just as difficult to get from one side of Europe to the other as across the states. Last year we went overland from the UK to Norway which is one of our nearest neighbours here in the UK. There are 3 possible ways to make this journey: by train, by road and ferry, or by plane. But routes overland or by boat requires travelling several hundreds of miles out of the way via Holland, Germany, Denmark and even Sweden, since the direct ferry was withdrawn, out-competed by planes. Cheapest? Plane. Quickest? Plane. But you don't have to choose the cheapest or quickest. The greenest way in terms of emissions was the train, but it was the most expensive and as well as the fare, would have meant paying for hotels and restaurants in 2 of the most expensive countries in Europe. In the end we took the next least emissions option: travel to Harwich, get the ferry to Esbjerg by boat, cross Denmark, get the ferry to Oslo and take the road to the conference in Gjovik. It took the best part of 2 days, we had to carry 3 currencies, conform to 2 different national winter vehicle standards, take out extra insurance, breakdown cover and health insurance (Norway is not in the EU) but we were able to minimise driving and expensive meals out. It took me ages to find out even how to make this journey, but the satisfaction of proving that it's possible combined with the wonder of a slow surface journey over sea and landscape was worth every bit of my time. My point is, you can choose how you treat the upper atmosphere with a bit of thought, research and planning.

I renounced flying many years ago and wish I had never taken a plane because it is the one activity that causes the most damage for the least need that I ever did. It is not the only thing I have chosen to change in my life for the sake of the environment but it is a significant one. If everyone continues to justify taking the plane because they have faith in the aviation industry (motivated entirely by shareholder profits, and only interested in emitting less if they can continue to make millions) then I consider them a) foolish and b) selfish. I don't mean people who fly are either of those things but those who con themselves into thinking it will all be ok because they (whoever 'they' are) will make planes green for us...

If even those of us claiming to follow an 'earth centred path' can't be bothered to make the effort to find a less destructive way, then what hope is there with 7 billion people all clamouring to live as wealthy westerners. And if we want to connect with our ancestors so badly, then why not start by learning to experience the world at their pace?

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Re: Aircraft emissions

Postby Charlene » 25 Jun 2011, 20:40

Pardon me, but it is once more people some where else saying that they know what others somewhere else need to be doing to be "more earth centred" or more "practical" than you.

Believe what you will. I frankly find the Euro-centric mantra of "what is best for the planet" not listening to the realities of the others in the world. The Amazon rainforest was being cut down by people wanting to participate in the wealth of the world. Feed their families, ya know? But we have people decrying that because of the impact on the world. You cannot expect people to embrace that when they have no real access to the same alternatives, in other words, not have healthy food, while others in first world live off the wealth of their lifestyle. That kind of one sided opinionated stand does not acknowledge the needs of others, and in my opinion, is not earth centred or spiritual. To me, it is nothing more than a bunch of people doing the "holier than thou" argument.

I believe if we ask and demand that the aviation industry find ways and means to improve the use of planes, that their efficiency will improve, if not, the price of fuel will keep the numbers of flights down in the world. They are aware that the fuel and use of the plane has costs to the climate. Asking everyone to travel by boat, train or bus is not anywhere near the answer. I simply do not believe that not flying is the answer, because I know that there are people in my country, given its vast size, that cannot go without the plane, anywhere. Smaller propeller planes are not included in the jet equation, and it looks like the research on emissions on jets is estimates? Huh? how about some actual measurements. I would like to see some more research, not quoted speculation that is taken up by a few people. Would using smaller prop planes that could alternate gliding and flying be an answer? Because the airplane is a vehicle of necessary travel here, and that will not change. People reducing their footprint here are reducing electricity, going off grid and using renewable energy generation, going pubic transit or hybrids in cities, buying more fuel efficient and newer vehicles, or recycling or reusing their garbage. And maybe doing all that is not good enough, but I find this anti-flying stance horribly myopic.

When I brought up how mountain pine beetle was devasting huge chunks of boreal forest here, and that the number of trees lost was greater than rainforest being cut down, no one cared in Europe. No one sees the possible problem, and while it looks like the mountains funnelling arctic air seems to have stopped it to just BC's forests in Canada, I was told, oh well, that is just nature. Why is it when European activists take up an issue, all of us over on this side of the planet have to agree or we are not living up to our earth centred principles? Sorry, I am not buying into that. I am pleased that there are options to consider and evaluate to travel, and that is my point. There are travel options there, but they do not exist to the same level and degree. Perhaps less militancy on the issue, and bringing it up as did you know that, would be more fruitful.

America is not the same as Canada. America has a larger population, larger infrastructure. Canada does not, nor is it a little America. Not knowing this difference is part of the problem. And not acknowledging the reality that some places in Canada "fly in" all their goods and services due to the remoteness of their place, is not acknowledging that flying has a practical place in the world for some people. Maybe some people should not and should choose not to fly, but to make a blanket statement that all who support an earth centred spiritual path are not living their path if they continue to fly is not about supporting a business, it is about getting around. Reducing carbon footprint is the practical solution, and allowing all people to participate in the lifestyle of health and wellness is the solution for the planet's wellbeing. We all have to do our part, and I have seen that tone brought up about people who want to travel to participate in OBOD events being denounced for getting on a plane. I know Philip has chosen to not travel as much, bringing up the environmental cost of flying as part of his rationale to not fly. But frankly, this whole not flying is not appropriate. What is more appropriate would be educating people about the carbon costs of travel, and allowing people to sort it out, not telling people that flying is wrong or bad.

I love driving to destinations. I maintain my vehicle, I offer to bring people to events, and I make these trips as efficient as possible. I make a lot of lifestyle choices by recycling all the things I can, and will buy used over new because of the overall impact on the planet. I look at even the paint I use in my home for environmental impact. I do this because I care. Flying has a future, and I would hope that we could and would encourage the aviation industry to do more than the targets they have set, including measuring actual emissions. I wonder though, if I show up at an OBOD camp someday, if people will look down their nose at me because I used a plane to get there?
Peace All

Charlene


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