At a Time of Climate Crisis: Carbon emissions from aviation can’t be swept under the carpet

At a time of climate crisis sustainable aviation fuel is a long way off, while industry figures don’t count flight emissions

In this month’s column for the Irish Times MaREI researcher Dr Hannah Daly at ERI, University College Cork writes about carbon emissions from aviation can’t be swept under the carpet. 

After a brief hiatus during the pandemic, flying is definitely back. Nearly 40 million people used Irish airports in 2023, the highest number on record, causing Ireland’s consumption of jet kerosene to soar by 15 per cent. This brings its annual greenhouse gas emissions back to the historically high levels seen just before the pandemic.

Since 1990 Ireland’s population has grown by 44 per cent but emissions from aviation increased by 500 per cent.

Flying is one of the most carbon-intensive activities. It takes an enormous amount of jet kerosene to lift an aeroplane 10km into the air and propel it across countries, oceans and continents. A jumbo jet burns more than 10 tonnes of fuel each hour. One return transatlantic flight can wipe out the entire carbon savings someone might have made from making their diet or transport habits more sustainable.

Read the full article here.