Aviation will account for five per cent of the world’s carbon emissions by 2050, according to a climate change study by researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).
The scientists at MMU’s Centre for Air Transport and the Environment (CATE) calculated C02 emissions based on traffic predictions from sources including the International Civil Aviation Organisation. In 2000, air traffic contributed two per cent of global carbon emissions, but that figure could grow to five per cent by 2050.
The forecasts account for improvements in technology and air traffic management as total air traffic is predicted to increase by six to eight times 2000 levels by 2050. But the researchers say technological solutions to increased pollution lag well behind growth of the industry.
CATE’s David Lee, Professor of Atmospheric Science at MMU, said, “This research confirms the message from the Aviation White Paper that the aviation sector is forecast to make up a considerable proportion of global emissions in the future.
“The results highlight that the rate of growth of aviation is far outstripping the rate of technological progress and improvements in efficiency.”
The results are part of a huge EC audit of emissions called QUANTIFY which is looking at the relative effects of road, rail, air and sea transport on the climate.
The study also indicates that shipping could have a stronger effect than aviation from its CO2.
Professor Lee said much more research was needed into the non-C02 effects of aviation emissions, such as ozone, contrails, cirrus clouds, which have been described as “potentially more worrying”.