Thu 6 May 2010 – According to a report just published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), greenhouse gas emissions from domestic civil aviation across the 32 EEA member countries rose from 19.19 million tonnes in 1990 to 29.65 million tonnes in 2007, an increase of 54%. Emissions from the European transportation sector as a whole, excluding those from international aviation and shipping, increased by 28% over the same period. However, the EEA notes a recent slow-down in the growth of aviation emissions, which looks set to continue in the short term, it forecasts. Meanwhile, CO2 emissions from jet fuel consumption in the US fell by over 9% in 2009 to the lowest since 1987, suggests latest data from the US Energy Information Administration.
The EEA says greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the European transport sector continue to grow, in contrast to other sectors such as industry, housing and energy production. Within the transport sector, compared to the 54% increase in domestic civil aviation emissions (excluding international aviation emissions not included under Kyoto), road transport emissions grew by 30% and domestic shipping by 13%, with rail showing a fall of 40% in the period 1990-2007.
Excluding emissions from international aviation and maritime transport (bunker fuel emissions), the transport sector now accounts for around 19.3% of total European GHG emissions. International bunkers add around one-third to reported EU transport emissions.
The EEA says the year-on-year increases in emissions from international aviation are showing signs of slowing with only a 0.9% increase in emissions between 2006 and 2007, compared with a 6.4% increase from 2005 to 2006.
“This trend of contracting emissions growth looks set to continue in the short term for aviation,” says the report. “In the long term, however, continued expansion is expected because of the close link to economic development.”
Under the Aviation EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the cap on emissions for all flights to, from and within the EU will be set at the average of the years 2004-6.
In terms of kilometres travelled, the report says intra-EU (27 countries) air passenger travel remained the fastest growing transport area, with a growth of 48% between 1997 and 2007.
By contrast, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that CO2 emissions from jet fuel consumption in the US fell from 226 million tonnes in 2008 to just under 205 million tonnes in 2009, a drop of 9.3% (see table below). Jet fuel CO2 emissions have seen a gradual decline throughout the past decade from a peak of 254 million in 2000. The 2009 figure, however, represents the largest-ever fall.
The latest EIA figure for the month of January 2010 shows a very small increase on the same month in 2009.
Last week, senior executives at US Airways questioned “overly-optimistic” market forecasts in the future growth of US domestic air traffic, believing that 1-2% growth “would be good”.