Climate-busting plane pollution revealed by new EU study
(EurActiv, 25 Nov 2020) The European Commission published new findings on Tuesday (24 November) that confirm aviation’s non-CO2 climate impact is substantial, as the EU executive mulls how to regulate plane travel in the decades to come.
Carbon dioxide has the most quantifiable warming effect on our planet but other greenhouse gases, although less abundant, play a role. In aviation, the altitude planes fly at has complicated research into what impact nitrogen oxide (NOx), soot and more can have.
A new comprehensive study conducted by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the Commission looks at how gases like NOx can be tackled by EU policies, although the authors insist “several uncertainties remain and new ones have emerged”.
EASA’s experts say that new climate modelling techniques suggest that “aviation emissions are currently warming the climate at approximately three times the rate of that associated with aviation CO2 emissions alone.”
That means that non-CO2 is up to two times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide alone.