Airline Industry Accounts for 2% of Global Warming, CO2 Emissions

I’m attending a forum on IT Government Leadership learning about the NextGen program from the FAA. This billion dollar program is modernizing our airline transportation through GPS, weather forecasting, digitizing the analog, and much much more.

The environmental impact of this program primarily concerns fuel use. Doing so though updating and simplifying flight routes, allowing for glide paths to landings (instead of stop-n-go). The net benefit should mean lower fuel costs for airlines, maybe lower ticket prices, and definitely less fuel use. This picture highlights the expected fuel and time savings of the program:

Environmental Impact of NextGen FAA Airline Modernization Program

The NextGen program takes their commitment to the environment one step further focusing on expected growth and global warming.

“The net system-wide effect cannot be offset by increased growth. Additional measures are needed, and we are aggressively pursuing these measures under NextGen.”

This means quieter and cleaner aircraft using clean energy and a portfolio program “to mature and accelerate promising new technologies”. They are also partnering with the ICAO and international aviation group bringing together the world’s airlines to focus on Global Warming.

The ICAO presents the data sets that show the airline industry contributing 2% of global warming. The FAA has partnered with this group to commit to increasing fuel efficiency by 2% every year from 2009 to 2050.

These days it is still surprising to find groups like these working towards saving the planet, but someday soon it will not be surprising it will be expected.