Toxic airplanes

by louanne on September 18, 2017 - 1:32pm

Toxic airplanes:

 

The aviation industry greatly impacts the environment, in fact, “it presently accounts for 4-9% of the total climate change impact of human activity.” (Suzuki, n.d) In order for an airplane to operate, jet fuels need to be burnt which amongst many other harmful gases releases CO2 into the atmosphere. What also increases the amount of harm on the environment is that these emissions are taking place at high altitudes meaning that they begin a chain of chemical reactions. According to Roger Tyers, an environment sociologist, “aviation is essentially a fossil fuel industry, one which guzzles an eye-watering 5m barrels of oil every day.” This has devastating effects on the environment. A major issue is that airplanes do not work on renewable energy, and while they are a bit more efficient than once before, there is still a long way to go before the issue is resolved.

Over the years, trade has played a more important role in the way a society functions. As population increases, the need for resources have increased. Developing countries are also exporting more and more goods in order to better their own economy, these countries include Brazil, and a large part of Asia. A large part of international trade functions with aviation and has increased by 35% since 1970. Also, CO2 emissions are projected to increase to between 50-250% by 2050. (Ferrante, 2015) This means that exportation is taking place on an international level and that planes are being used more and more.

While many people and countries are aware of the impact aviation has on climate change, there are not willing to do much about it. One major impact of the aviation industry is that it encourages tourism. If countries were to limit the amount of flights they allow to enter their country or raise the price of flights/fuel that would discourage traveler from visiting their country where people spend money and encourage their economies. Travelers would no longer be taking flights as often as they do and some may not travel at all. This means that people will not go and encourage local or even international companies and will decrease the country’s economy. If we look at regions such as the Caribbean, their economy almost entirely relies on tourism meaning that if they were to lose that, they would be in poverty.

 

 

It’s time to wake up to the devastating impact flying has on the environment:

http://theconversation.com/its-time-to-wake-up-to-the-devastating-impact-flying-has-on-the-environment-70953

Air travel and climate change:

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/climate-change/science/climate-change-basics/air-travel-and-climate-change/

The surprisingly complex truth about planes and climate change:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2010/sep/09/carbon-emissions-planes-shipping

 

Reducing Air Pollution from International Transportation:

https://www.epa.gov/international-cooperation/reducing-air-pollution-international-transportation

 

Comments

I do agree that not only are airplanes increasing in numbers, they are also becoming a very common way of transportation. But i feel that there are other sources of c02 in need of immediate attention such as cars. Although cars produce much less C02, there are much more of them being used and being produced. Not only do they produce c02, they also spew other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide from tailpipes and hydrofluorocarbon from leaking airconditioners. Although cars spew these greenhouse gases in smaller amounts, their Global Warming Potential are much higher than C02. Not only that, in addition to the sheer amount of cars currently existing, it would suffice to say that it is a very efficient way of worsening climate change.
For more information on daily c02 emmisions by cars:
https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/greenhouse-gas-emissions-typical-passe...

This problematic you have brought forward is quite interesting. However, I am still unsure about the solutions we could find in order to reduce pollution created from airplanes if we can't use renewable energy. On the other hand, if we were talking about a car, more solutions would be easily accessible. For example, taking the bus, carpool, or even buying an electric car. However, planes are not as easily replaceable as cars and finding alternatives that would benefit both humans and the environment are difficult to find. So is implementing traveling quotas really the only way to reduce pollution due to planes? Should we really deny human beings the right to travel and see the world?
Moreover, the fact that the world of today is dependant of airplanes not only for tourism and jobs, makes this issue extremely difficult to solve. That is why we should concentrate our priorities into changing our own personal habits (overconsumption, our ecological footprint, etc). That way, we would make a greater difference in the world by changing what we are able to control.

I do agree with your opinion to some point. Yes, planes can cause a big impact on the environment by the release of C02 gases. Nowadays, we live in a world that is dependent on airplanes. Because of that, reducing the impact of climate change due to planes would be really hard. As you wrote, we need planes for exportation and for tourism. The world’s economy depends on that. If some countries lived without tourism, they would be stuck with even more poverty.
If we take a wider look at the problem of global warming, planes are not the factor that contributes the most to climate changes. In your article, it is written that «it presently accounts for 4-9% of the total climate change impact of human activity». If we really want to reduce climate change, the first thing that we should be concerned about is livestock. This might seem surprising for a lot of people but with the way we raise livestock in developed countries nowadays, cows are actually releasing the most C02 and methane gases. The methane produced by cows « warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide». They are the actual biggest threat to the environment. In an article from Independent Magazine, it is said that the world’s top destroyer of the environment are not the cars nor the planes but are in fact the cows. If we compare statistics, livestock are responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. This percentage is higher than planes, cars, and all other forms of transport put together. I’m not saying that planes are good for the environment, but they are not as bad as other forms and origins of greenhouses gas emissions such the ones coming from livestock. We should be more alarmed by modern livestock agriculture than all forms of transport put together including plane transportation.
So, I believe that reducing the amount of meat consumed by each household would be an easier solution to reducing the climate changes rather than raising fuel prices that would at the same time discourage the tourism in countries that need it the most. By taking the problem at it’s source (where it’s the worst), we can really contribute to reducing the release of C02 and at the same time, reduce the environmental impacts considerably.

I do agree with your opinion to some point. Yes, planes can cause a big impact on the environment by the release of C02 gases. Nowadays, we live in a world that is dependent on airplanes. Because of that, reducing the impact of climate change due to planes would be really hard. As you wrote, we need planes for exportation and for tourism. The world’s economy depends on that. If some countries lived without tourism, they would be stuck with even more poverty.

If we take a wider look at the problem of global warming, planes are not the factor that contributes the most to climate changes. In your article, it is written that «it presently accounts for 4-9% of the total climate change impact of human activity». If we really want to reduce climate change, the first thing that we should be concerned about is livestock. This might seem surprising for a lot of people but with the way we raise livestock in developed countries nowadays, cows are actually releasing the most C02 and methane gases. The methane produced by cows « warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide». They are the actual biggest threat to the environment. In an article from Independent Magazine, it is said that the world’s top destroyer of the environment are not the cars nor the planes but are in fact the cows. If we compare statistics, livestock are responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. This percentage is higher than planes, cars, and all other forms of transport put together. I’m not saying that planes are good for the environment, but they are not as bad as other forms and origins of greenhouses gas emissions such the ones coming from livestock. We should be more alarmed by modern livestock agriculture than all forms of transport put together including plane transportation.

So, I believe that reducing the amount of meat consumed by each household would be an easier solution to reducing the climate changes rather than raising fuel prices that would at the same time discourage the tourism in countries that need it the most. By taking the problem at it’s source (where it’s the worst), we can really contribute to reducing the release of C02 and at the same time, reduce the environmental impacts considerably.

I fully agree with the fact that aviation is one of the cause of climate change and it is damaging the environment. But, this is not the worst part, since air transport has only increased in recent years, both for export and import of goods but also for travel. There are even a lot of people who decide to fly when they could have taken a few hours by car or bus, just to go faster. The planes pollute worse than cars, for example if four people decide to share a car, they are collectively responsible for emitting only 104 kilograms of CO2 and while if they had choosen to taking up four seats on a plane would generate some 736 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

Some might say that if we managed to make electric cars, why not electric planes? But this is not as simple as that, unfortunately, since aircraft do not run on renewable energies. This is a major problem which is not ready to be resolved. And, if we decide to reduce international flights, places that survive only from tourism, like some little islands that would live in poverty without it, will be the first to experience a decline in their economy! So this is a very complex situation!

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