EEA report confirms air passenger growth is fast outstripping passenger transport in general
Fri 7 Mar 2008 – A report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), ‘Climate for a transport change’, says intra-EU air passenger transport grew by 49% between 1995 and 2004, while air freight transport grew by 31% between 1995 and 2005. The total CO2 emissions from EU aviation grew by 73%, with air transport to destinations outside the EU-25 countries accounting for 60% of these emissions.
Moreover, maintains the report, air transport continues to grow faster than increases in efficiency, meaning that it is responsible for an increasing amount of GHG emissions, the bulk of which are due to international aviation and therefore outside the consideration of the Kyoto Protocol.
In 2005, CO2 emissions from all flights leaving the EU-25 totalled 142 MtCO2 compared to total weighted GHG emissions of 4,980 MtCO2-equivalent in the same year. The contribution from intra-EU-25 aviation to GHG emissions continues to rise and reached 12% of total EU-25 transport GHG emissions in 2005.
Projections indicate that intra-EU passenger air transport will continue to rise at approximately 4.5% annually and will double in the period 2000-2020. International air passenger projections are for an annual average growth rate of 5.6% in the period 2005-2009; for international air freight the figure is higher at an annual 6.3% to 2009.
Based on a conservative overall annual projected increase of 5% in EU aviation (both intra-EU-25 and extra-EU-25) and current aircraft efficiencies, the projected CO2 emissions associated with all air transport departing from EU-25 airports by 2020 will be in the region of 284 MtCO2. This could threaten the ability of the EU to meet increasingly ambitious emission reduction targets, says the report.
The report quotes Eurocontrol findings that inefficiencies in Europe’s air traffic management systems caused flights in Europe (37 states) to travel on average nearly 50km of ‘route extension’ to reach their destinations in 2006, resulting in extra costs and additional emissions of 4.7 MtCO2.
The EEA says the EU has failed to curb emissions from transport in general, “and dramatic improvements and clear targets are needed”. The report, which has been presented to the European Parliament’s Committee on Climate Change, is the annual publication from the EEA’s Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM), which monitors the progress and effectiveness of attempts to integrate transport and environment strategies.