Scientists at the University of Oxford University have concluded research which found that trees are the best “technology” to sequester CO2 from the atmosphere and which could help to reduce the impact of global warming. The researchers looked at various methods of reducing CO2 including capturing CO2 directly from industrial sources such as power stations and factories, extracting CO2 directly from the atmosphere and even adding limestone to the oceans. Of all the methods looked at the most effective were planting trees, or converting wood waste into a material similar to charcoal which could then be incorporated into soil. The university found that utilising such solutions as afforestation were not only low-cost but could draw several years worth of CO2 from the atmosphere. Other solutions are high-cost, require large amounts of energy and face many challenges in their development.
Oxford University Report: Stranded Carbon Assets and Negative Emissions Technologies, published 3 Feb 2015, Authors: Ben Caldecott, Guy Lomax, Mark Workman
Remarkable data has recently arrived from the first satellite dedicated to monitoring levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, with some very revealing results. NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-d), which was launched in July 2014, measures the concentrations of carbon dioxide around the globe
The patch of dense carbon dioxide above China was expected due to very high CO2 emissions from power stations and factories, however, many observers are surprised by the large areas of orange and red over the southern hemisphere’s extensive savannah and rainforest. Farmers in these areas are known to clear land at springtime but these images suggest a bigger impact on the atmosphere than previously thought.
This image helps to confirm our view at GAIA that whilst increased CO2 emissions are a key contributory factor to climate change, another vital component is often under-played or even ignored, which is the vast deforestation taking place in the tropical zones especially over Brazil and Indonesia. Such deforestation not only removes the natural process of carbon absorption by trees, but the loss of rainforest directly changes local climate and has a knock-on effect globally on weather patterns and longer term climate change. If you want to learn more about the issues of deforestation and how the problem is starting to being addressed, please visit our friends at the Global Canopy Programme.
“Green Aviation” has just incorporated as a non-profit organisation and we’ll share more news and information with you via our new website that will be launched during 2015. In the meantime, just to give you a quick flavour of what’s to come, including our official launch.
Green Aviation International Association, as a pro-aviation organisation but advocating far greater sustainability, will liaise and work with other aviation industry associations, NGOs, governments, experts, the educational sector, airlines and other companies in the aviation sector to design and implement a range of initiatives and standards to significantly improve the standards and rate of up-take of sustainability in the aviation industry. It will also serve as a centre of excellence for aviation sustainability professionals and experts and offer training and professional certification.
We have become increasingly disappointed with the general progress of aviation sustainability initiatives, which despite some positives have generally experienced a significant slowing down of urgency. Not only that, but even regulatory requirements have significantly diminished in the past couple of years, and it really needs a kick-start to get back on track again, indeed, to get onto a better and more sustainable track as soon as possible, before inertia against change and cynism on environmental matters grows too far. For sure, the aviation industry has done a great deal, and is doing a lot of important things in this area, even more than some other transportation sectors, but it’s not enough, especially at a time when science and experts are telling us we are going too slow to avert the worst-case climate scenarios. Do we really want to arrive at the point where it’s all too little and too late?
Whilst we are lobbying for greater action, we cannot forget that airline directors, managers and staff have a tough time running their businesses and operations and often need a lot of guidance and support on complying with existing environmental regulations as well as designing strategies to improve their sustainability in response to growing passenger feedback and new roadmaps coming out of ICAO, IATA, the EU and elsewhere. We’ll be providing airlines and other companies who need expert, cost-effective solutions and services through a new division that will provide a comprehensive range of existing and new, innovative solutions. Any surpluses earned from these services will go towards funding the overall non-profit organisation or selective sustainability projects.
Stay tuned for more information!