A Flying Shame
In 2019 8% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions came from domestic and international flights.
The UK government have made a pledge to have net zero aviation in place by 2050.
Under the the Jet Zero plan commercial airlines will have to use a sustainable replacement for jet engines.
Reaching Jet Zero will be a challenge to say the least.
Electric engines are not a viable option due to the weight of the batteries needed to produce the power to get an aircraft off the ground.
So the sustainable options lie with non-fossil fuels, all of which are far from perfect.
A report on these alternatives has just been published by The Royal Society and it is sobering reading. The four non-fossil fuels outlined in the report are as follows:
- Bio fuels – these are made from crops such as rapeseed or poplar. However it “would require more than 50% of the UK’s available agricultural land to replace aviation fuels.”
- Hydrogen – Hydrogen gas can extracted from water using electric current. “Producing enough ‘green’ hydrogen to replace current fossil aviation fuel would require around 2.4 to 3.4 times the UK’s annual renewable electricity generation (2020)”
- Ammonia – ‘Green’ Ammonia production requires vast amounts of electricity – in fact “producing ‘green’ ammonia as a jet fuel would require 2.5 to 3.9 times the UK’s annual renewable electricity generation (2020).”
- Synthetic Fuels – “When done sustainably using renewable electricity, this would require 5 to 8 times the UK’s 2020 renewable electricity capacity.”
The report also points out that there is not a full understanding of the impact of non-CO2 emissions from jet engines, and the formation of contrails, which currently contribute significantly to warming by aviation globally.
This should worry us all.
Compare and Contrast.
A picture says more than 1000 words
Last week Rishi Sunak flew on a private jet to Leeds and back. He also did a quick trip to Scotland for lunch meeting with Nicola Sturgeon using the same method of transport. The taxpayer picked the tab for these two trips.
The “PM” clearly is doing his “green credentials” no good at all. Flying in private jets is not recommended by climate change experts
Meanwhile Greta Tuneberg was protesting in Germany against the expansion of a huge, lignite (brown coal), opencast mine.
Greta got arrested, but she was later released. Sunak got back in time for tea.
In the week that fires still rage in Australia. Matt Hancock comes out with this on Radio 5.
I must be dreaming, did the really say this when asked if we should all be flying less?
This was posted 3 years ago time before the current PM was using a private jet like an Uber.
Climate Conferences and Contrails
Another Climate Conference, this time in Madrid, made think today:
Recycle/use less plastic
Eat less meat
Avoid air travel
Try to live car free
These are some of the things one could do to help save the Planet for future generations.
According to Greenpeace one of the best ways to reduce carbon emissions and hence climate change is to “skip the airport” as air travel is so energy-intensive.
The UK is one of the biggest nations when it comes to consumption of aircraft flights. Admittedly we do live on an island, but Britons took 126.2 million flights in 2018. This figure is set to rise even further according to most forecasters.
Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Rachel Kennerley admits: “Some trips can only realistically be made by plane, but aviation plays a big part in contributing to climate change. So it is worrying if a significant proportion of the British public think that people should be able to travel by plane as much as they like.”
The Science is now out there. Check out for yourself and see what each flight produces using a Carbon Footprint calculator and remember it is not just carbon dioxide, but there are other pollutants produced by aircraft (contrails) that contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Having flown a lot in the past, in ignorance of the eco-mess I was creating, I cannot really sit in judgement and start flight-shaming those that choose to fly in the future. But in 2020 I am not going to fly anywhere and make things worse. #flightfree2020