What’s the fastest way for a person to generate carbon dioxide? Other than arson and war, the highest impact human activity is AVIATION. Especially corporate business jet (bizjet) and elite air taxi trips, two forms of aviation where huge quantities of jet fuel are consumed hauling as few as one or two people from airport A to airport B.There are still some who adamantly deny anthropogenic climate change, but both the trend and the data argue strongly for the fact that human consumption of fossil fuels IS creating a new and threatening climate/weather reality. Not least of the data are our atmospheric CO2 levels, which have been steadily climbing for more than a century. Our CO2 levels are now more than a third higher than previous ‘natural’ peaks that occur every 100,000 years (related to wobble in the Earth’s orbit). In fact, the last time Earth CO2 levels were this high was 3 million years ago, long before modern humans even evolved (the earliest fossils of modern humans are from around 195,000 years ago).
We should be paying attention to the growing number of scientists who say we are well into a massive extinction event. These events have happened a few times on our one planet … but NEVER has one been triggered as a consequence of our industrial-age appetite for excessive energy consumption.
In a recent blog post, David Suzuki offers a list of ’10 Ways We Can Help Stop Climate Change’. Two of the items on his list relate to aviation. People need to fly less, and we need to heavily tax the carbon in aviation fuels. Here in the U.S., we also need Congress to direct FAA to resume an appropriate level of regulation of the aviation industry, including:
- change the aviation tax/fee structure that is FAA’s revenue source to strongly incentivize minimal fuel consumption on a per passenger basis. Scale back PFCs that cause major airport hubs to grow like cancerous tumors, at the expense of lesser airports.
- FAA needs to compel airlines to replace indirect (and longer) flights via major hubs with more direct flights to the passenger’s actual destination.
- FAA needs to manage the airspace system holistically and intelligently, instead of with the current ‘at-a-distance’ approach that encourages flight concentration and hub over-development. Money invested in airport development needs to serve the larger Public, not just that airport’s dominant airline.