Aviation pollution is the largest contributor to air pollution, which is horrendous and growing an estimated 3 to 4 percent annually. Airlines are incredibly aware there are several ways by which they could reduce their carbon footprint. They’re also quite aware of increasing fuel costs that threaten fare stability. When it comes to affecting changes in the industry, knowing truly is only half the battle. The rest of it lies within forcing regulation to manage pollution – and therein lies the real challenge.
Air Pollution: Negligence, Death & Temper Tantrums
The aviation industry openly acknowledges industrial pollution is an issue; however, you’d think to be so pliably aware, they’d be remarkably willing to address the situation. Yet this isn’t the case. The industry and its supporting nations have been spinning their wheels on implementing solutions since 1997, much to the frustration of the European Union and several global alliances and organizations.
Aviation pollution contributes to various air quality issues that affect both human health and the environment and there are plenty of statements to support this knowledge.
Attorney Emily Davis represents the Clean Air Project at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Her Live Science op-ed reinforces the reality that worldwide air pollution problems are “even worse” than most would think, further reminding us of the 7 million estimated air pollution deaths reported in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) estimates.
The Flying Clean Alliance further links airline activity to health issues. “Despite their shiny chrome exterior, an airplane, just like a power plant or an oil refinery, is dirty.” They also state: “Scientists have found that even small increases in taxi time at airports in Southern California contribute to significant increases in asthma, respiratory ailments and heart disease in surrounding communities. Scientists also believe that particulate matter emissions from airplanes, along with ships and trains, contribute to 1,800 early deaths per year in the United Kingdom alone. These health impacts also translate into large economic costs for society.”
Now as I’ve said, the aviation industry and government leaders have been twiddling their thumbs around solutions effectively to minimize carbon impact since 1997. However, in the nearly twenty years of dawdling, not much has happened. Talks have come and gone and come again, only to leave lawmakers and environmentalists frustrated as their efforts become increasingly fruitless.
Frustrated with a lack of progress, in 2012 the EU applied carbon fees to airlines operating under its European Union Emissions Trading System and then later expanded these mandates to all airlines operating within its boundaries. Not surprisingly, this move led to a maelstrom of global temper tantrums as nations around the world revolted in favor of a more universal mandate that would benefit everyone. Again, I remind you this is something that’s been delayed for almost twenty years now.