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Air traffic poised to become a major factor in global warming, scientists predict

Date:
May 31, 2010
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The first new projections of future aircraft emissions in 10 years predict that carbon dioxide and other gases from air traffic will become a significant source of global warming as they double or triple by 2050.

Airplanes, a source of carbon dioxide emissions, are poised to become a major factor in global warming in the future, according to new predictions.
Credit: iStockphoto/Ramon Berk

The first new projections of future aircraft emissions in 10 years predict that carbon dioxide and other gases from air traffic will become a significant source of global warming as they double or triple by 2050.

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The study is in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

Bethan Owen and colleagues note that aviation is not now one of the main drivers of global warming, with international aviation (source of 60 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft) not even included in the Kyoto Protocol. Global air traffic currently contributes to between 2 and 3 percent of carbon dioxide emissions -- the main "greenhouse" gas linked to global warming.

The scientists' computer model forecast that emissions of carbon dioxide will likely double or triple within the next 50 years. By 2100, carbon dioxide emissions could increase by up to seven times the current levels, they say.

"Even though there have been significant improvements in fuel efficiency through aircraft technology and operational management, this has been outweighed by the increase in air traffic," the study states.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bethan Owen, David S. Lee, Ling Lim. Flying into the Future: Aviation Emissions Scenarios to 2050. Environmental Science & Technology, 2010; 44 (7): 2255 DOI: 10.1021/es902530z

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Air traffic poised to become a major factor in global warming, scientists predict." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100526124715.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2010, May 31). Air traffic poised to become a major factor in global warming, scientists predict. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100526124715.htm
American Chemical Society. "Air traffic poised to become a major factor in global warming, scientists predict." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100526124715.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

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