About IAGA

Making sense of technology for a better world.

Quick Facts

Aviation Climate Impact

  1. Aircraft burn fossil fuels, producing Greenhouse Gases as byproducts, is a major contributor to global warming and is responsible for over 3% of global CO2 emissions.
  2. Aircraft engines emit water vapor at high altitudes form condensation trails (contrails) and create cirrus clouds, which trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere.
  3. GHGs are injected in the upper troposphere and lower stratospere by aircraft engines and include NOx, SOx, particulate matter such as soot and other chemicals.
  4. Emissions at high altitudes are more effective at trapping heat compared to ground-level emissions. The altitude at which aircraft operate makes their emissions particularly potent in terms of climate impact.

Mitigaton Efforts

  1. Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF): SAF is a key component of green aviation. It can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional jet fuel. SAF is made from renewable sources like cooking oil, plant oils, and waste.
  2. Electric Aircraft: Electric planes are being developed for short-haul flights. Companies like Airbus, Boeing, and several startups are working on electric propulsion systems to reduce emissions and noise.
  3. Hydrogen Fuel: Hydrogen is being explored as a clean fuel alternative for aviation. It can be used in fuel cells to power electric motors or burned directly in modified gas turbine engines, emitting only water vapor.
  4. Aerodynamic Improvements: Advances in aircraft design, such as blended wing bodies and improved winglets, reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency, contributing to greener aviation
  5. Lightweight Materials: The use of lightweight composite materials, such as carbon fiber reinforced polymers, in aircraft construction reduces weight and, consequently, fuel consumption and emissions.
  6. Flight Operations Optimization: Optimizing flight paths, speeds, and altitudes can significantly reduce fuel burn. Advanced air traffic management systems aim to minimize delays and maximize efficiency.
  7. Carbon Offsetting Programs: Many airlines are implementing carbon offset programs, allowing passengers to offset the carbon emissions of their flights by investing in environmental projects like reforestation and renewable energy.
  8. Regulatory Support and Incentives: Governments and international organizations are supporting green aviation through regulations, incentives, and funding for research and development. Policies like the European Union's Emissions Trading System (ETS) encourage airlines to reduce their carbon footprint.