Supporting article G: The damage caused to the ozone by jet fuel is rising sharply!
By grounding flights, Eyjafjallajokull cut aviation’s carbon emissions by about 200,000 tons a day.
April 26, 2010|Greg Goldin
What’s more, burning jet fuel at altitude has double the damaging effect. The AEF estimates that if the current growth rates in air travel continue, when added to the greater harm CO2 does in the clouds, “aviation’s impacts will exceed road traffic’s in under 20 years.”
There are not many ways, at least in the near term, that airplanes can become more fuel efficient or that high-octane kerosene can be replaced by more environmentally friendly fuels. For example, one alternative fuel, biobutanol, which can be processed from sugar beets or straw or soybeans, would require farmland the size of Florida to produce just 15% of the industry’s needs.
The most efficient way to slash these carbon emissions is to build high-speed electric trains, because they emit anywhere between a tenth and a quarter of aircraft greenhouse gases. We all know how feeble passenger trains are in the United States, and the climate change bill now wallowing in the Senate will do little to lay bullet train tracks, let alone mandate airlines to dramatically conserve.
So perhaps our hope for the near term should be that Katla, one of Iceland’s “Angry Sisters,” will blow its restless top. If that happens, perhaps airports as far away as Los Angeles will have leader boards flashing “Delayed” for every flight.
Greg Goldin is an environmental writer and the architecture critic at Los Angeles Magazine.