How the Aviation Sector Mitigates Global Warming
By Yemi Olakitan
The aviation sector was the first in the world to set a sector-wide, worldwide goal for climate action in 2008.
By announcing that it will achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the global aviation industry demonstrated its commitment to combating climate change.
This commitment will be bolstered by increased efficiency initiatives, an energy transition, innovation within the industry, and collaboration with governments worldwide.
By establishing a comparable objective at the 41st Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization in October 2022, governments further demonstrated their support for net zero carbon emissions for aviation by 2050.
Achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is important because it advances the objective of the Paris Agreement to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This would significantly lessen the severity of climate change damage, according to scientists.
Fuel and CO2 efficiency in the aviation sector have improved significantly since 1990, with fuel consumption per trip having nearly doubled.
Stated differently, the amount of CO2 produced by your flight today would be only 50% of what it would have produced in 1990. This has been made possible by advances in technology as well as enhanced infrastructure and operations.
Global economic development is mostly driven by trade and tourism, and as people get wealthier, they have a greater desire to see the world.
The industry’s approach for addressing climate change is intended to assist in striking a balance between reducing the impact of climate change and promoting economic growth through connection.
Since the invention of jet engines, manufacturers have already produced notable efficiency gains of almost 90%, and they plan to keep spending money on both new and upgraded types of aircraft.
Although there are still obstacles for longer-term uses, new technologies (with radical designs, electric, hydrogen, and novel forms of propulsion) have the potential to help decarbonize the short-haul fleet.
Without drastically altering aircraft engines or fuel delivery systems, sustainable aviation fuels have the potential to cut CO2 emissions by over 80% when compared to fossil fuels.
This holds enormous promise for ensuring the continued sustainable growth of air travel. They are being utilized more frequently and will be a part of the shift away from fossil fuels by the middle of the century.
According to International Civil Aviation Organisation, to reduce emissions, the organization is making current fleet lighter and more effective and implementing innovative air traffic management strategies.
For instance, utilizing a continuous descent when landing at an airport reduces CO2 emissions by at least 150 kg every flight. In an aircraft, adding wingtip gadgets can result in a 4% fuel savings.
The goal of air navigation service providers is to minimize unnecessary fuel consumption during all aspects of flight by expediting efficiency enhancements.
A one-minute flight shorter than the original one saves at least 100kg of CO2. Redesigned air traffic control systems in Europe, Asia, and the US will result in a large reduction in emissions.
The International Civil Aviation Organization’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme (CORSIA) says it will use economic measures as part of their approach until their environmental goals are met by technology and more productive operations.
In the short and medium term, aviation will need high-quality carbon offsets in order to decarbonize.
In Africa, research from the New Climate Economy shows that bold.climate action could deliver at least $26 trillion in global economic benefits between now and 2030.
It could also generate over 65 million
new low-carbon jobs by 2030, a number equivalent to the combined workforces of the United Kingdom and Egypt today; avoid over 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution compared with business-as-usual;
and generate an estimated $2.8 trillion in government revenues in 2030 through subsidy reform and carbon pricing alone.
1. Delivering the benefits of a new climate economy requires ambitious action across key economic systems, creating the conditions for the phaseout of coal and rapid scale-up of renewables in the energy sector; investing in shared, electric, and low-carbon transport in cities; scaling up sustainable food and land use systems, including forest landscape restoration; targeting investment to resilient water
infrastructure; and reducing emissions from key industrial value chains, such as plastic.
However, if the world fails to step up climate action, continuing on our current climate trajectory could force 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030.
2. Africa is the most-exposed region to the
adverse effects of climate change despite contributing the least to global warming.
The region is already disproportionately feeling the impacts related to a changing climate. Devastating cyclones affected 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe in the spring of 2018.
3. GDP exposure in African nations vulnerable to extreme climate patterns is projected to grow from $895 billion in 2018 to about $1.4 trillion in 2023—nearly half of the continent’s GDP.
4. The impact of climate change on sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP
Morocco has built the world’s largest concentrated solar facility to help achieve the country’s goal of 52 percent renewable energy mix by 2030. The advanced 6,000-acre solar complex, Noor, serves as a clean energy source for around 2 million Moroccans, and provides pivotal job
opportunities as the country transitions away from the fossil fuel industry.
5. The solar complex is also offering training programs for women for entrepreneurial and agricultural activities and is recruiting women in decision-making roles to guide project activities.
6. South Africa’s Carbon Tax Act, which places specific levies on greenhouse gases from fuel combustion and industrial processes and emissions, came into effect in June 2019.
7. By 2035, the carbon tax could reduce the country’s emissions by 33 percent relative to the baseline.
8. Furthermore, South Africa’s recent renewable energy auctions have led to solar and wind prices lower than those of the
national utility or from new coal plants.
9. Often regarded as the continent’s clean energy trailblazer, much of what has been learned through South Africa’s renewable energy procurement process can influence similar developments across Africa.
The biggest energy companies see this future too and are working to diversify their global portfolios. As of September 2019, the world’s major oil companies had made about 70 clean-energy deals, putting them on track to surpass the total for 2018.
Shell, for instance, has invested in SolarNow, which sells high-quality solar solutions in Uganda and Kenya.
Since its inception in 2011, SolarNow has supplanted 210,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.12 More African countries should insist upon being recipients of this 21st century investment.