COP21, the international negotiations in Paris, aimed at bringing nations together to minimize the potentially dangerous impacts of anthropogenic climate change, closed one week ago. There has now been enough time for the details of the agreement to be assessed. One early publication is a simple infographic by euractiv.com. Here is a screen-capture of the last panel in their infographic:
The omission of the aviation sector is noted on the left side, and the attached yellow post-it has this comment: “International shipping and aviation emit as much as entire wealthy nations, but they’re not bound by the COP21 deal. These emissions won’t be covered by reductions being discussed at COP21, because they don’t happen within the boundaries of any specific countries. They’re also projected to rise dramatically by 2050.”
Since FAA and most other world aviation regulators are moving slowly (if at all?) on climate change, and since COP21 is trusting the industry will self-regulate, we need the aviation industry leaders to take charge. They need to work toward a steep carbon tax, and they need to discover ways to significantly improve their energy efficiency. Air travel is better than it was in the gas-guzzling days when jet travel began, but air travel remains as the fastest way for a human being to create CO2.
If aviation industry leaders do not act promptly, they very soon may be looking at substantially scaling back their industry. Perhaps even within a decade. It would not be surprising to see flying become a mode of travel used only out of extreme need; to see aviation vacations become a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ event.