Humans need to fly!

 
There is no escaping the fact that the Human race aspires to fly just like the birds!  Since the legend of Icarus and his incredibly bold but doomed attempt we’ve tried to copy them to soar through the skies. But only in the past 100 years have we actually succeeded in reaching this incredible dream!
 
Now, for most of us it feels entirely natural to fly in a plane across the huge distance of a continent or an ocean to conduct our business, take a holiday, or visit family and friends. It is a part of every day life.
 
But that is not enough for the Human race! Our desire for flight is so strong and deep within us that we have now devised the means to even fly beyond the confines of our planet! It seems that the need to fly is so deep within us, within our DNA, and perhaps even key to our future survival! Humans need to fly!
 
 

...but at what cost to life on Earth?

 

Unfortunately, there is increasing evidence that the incredible activity of human flight, apparently quite benign, is actually creating a high risk risk to the natural environment through its various emissions, not just CO2.

Aviation is most definitely not the biggest contributor to climate change by far, however if its rapid growth cotinues without stronger environmental improvement then it may offset the improvements made by other industries. Aviation still emits large volumes of CO2 each year, and whilst only being 2% of overall global production it still amounts to an additional 670 million tonnes in a year. That volume has doubled since 1990 and is predicted to more than double again by 2025 to 1.48 billion tonnes.  QinetiQ predict that CO2 aviation emissions will then rise again by a further 120% by 2025, despite the current temporary credit crunch. This is much more than the estimates of 54% growth predicted in 2004.  This may wipe out improvements made by other industries.

There are also other pollutants such as NOX created by inefficiencies in combustion that cause other environmental damage. Some of these pollutants damage the ozone layer that shields us from harmful radiation. These pollutants are even stronger in their impact because they are released at high altitudes. Scientists predict in different research that the total warming impact of aviation’s emissions can be multiplied anywhere between 1.9 and 2.7 times, or even more in some scenarios, to estimate their true impact.
 
Fortunately the aviation industry is taking many important measures to reduce its environmental impact thtough technological improvements to aircraft and engines and partnering with companies into reaeach, development and trialling of altenative fuels. But there is much more work to do.

For sure, as far as we are concerned the science of Climate Change is not yet settled. There is still much research to be done to understand how these complex natural systems work, and then on top of that the impact of human activity. Indeed, a small number of scientists even say that there is no strong link between CO2 and Global Warming. Well ultimately they might be proved to be right, or wrong, but the other pollutants emitted by aircraft have been proven to cause damage to the fragile Ozone Layer that shields life on Earth from harmful cosmic radiation, and so green and sustainable aviation is not just about CO2 reductions; far from it.

As the current Guardians of the planet we all have a duty to act now to protect its future. We believe that we have no moral alternatives and must address the real issues now, even at times of economic hardship we must not get derailed and postpone or cancel the very initiatives that can create a better future as well as actually creating worthwhile jobs today! Aviation is far from the worst contributor to global warming, road transport and power generation are far worse, but that does not lessen the need nor urgency for people involved in aviation to resolve our own issues.
 
Green Aviation International aspires to support the aviation industry become fully sustainable. We fully recognize the wonderful and positive impact of aviation on our lives, but we also fully recognize that to continue to enjoy our freedom to fly we must all become more responsible, whilst still remembering and fully appreciating that humans need to fly

Our Vision

 

1. The long-term success of aviation and sustainable solutions must go hand-in-hand; they need not be mutually exclusive.
 
2. Real actions with meaningful, measurable and ambitious targets are needed by the aviation industry. A far-away target of 2050 for a carbon-free industry is far too little, far too late. It is possible that at least 50% reductions can be achieved by 2020 through a combination of direct improvements, indirectly via offsets and Emissions Trading and perhaps even next-generation biofuels.  It is then possible for 100% to be achieved by 2030 or sooner in our view; that is at least 20 years earlier than some in the aviation Industry are prepared to accept.

3. If the industry cannot establish leadership, then the policy makers need to introduce intelligent regulations, whilst not punishing aviation through vindictive taxation.

4. Emissions Trading is an effective and valuable tool in helping mitigate the impact of aviation emissions. Regional, and ultimately global, Emissions Trading Schemes must be implemented as quickly as possible, not debated and avoided for many more years.

4. Teamwork, technology and intelligent management practices, supporting systems, and “Green Money” are the key to achieving success, not just voluntary actions and wishful thinking. Many solutions are already available.

5. Sustainable Biofuels are one of the best methods of reducing aviation emissions, but they are not a “silver bullet”. Aviation should be given tax breaks to accelerate R&D and implemention, or otherwise funds raised from ETS and other so-called “green taxes” should be invested fully into such environmental improvement projects, not diverted in the general exchequer as currently.
 
6. Aviation is surely not alone in damaging the environment, and it’s impact is far smaller than many other sectors.  Policy makers must ensure than aviation is not singled-out for unilateral action but instead ensure that ALL form of transportation, to the same targets that we have placed for aviation.