The aviation industry continues to be a global leader in carbon dioxide emissions. Clean energy analysts focused on the industry say airplanes and air travel will be one of the most difficult aspects of countries’ decarbonization proposals over the coming decades. Data on airplane emission projections show how air travel will only continue to emit a growing amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere for the foreseeable future.
According to data provided by Bloomberg, carbon emissions from air travel across all continents is expected to soar over the next three decades. North America led the world in aviation emissions in 2019 with an estimated 293 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent released into the atmosphere. By 2050, they’re expected to continue leading the world with over 440 million metric tons. Europe, China and other Asian-Pacific countries followed closely behind North America in 2019 for aviation emissions and are expected to grow similarly in the coming decades.
Overall, the world aviation industry is expected to produce nearly 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere by 2050 – nearly double what they are now and nearly quadruple what they were in 1990. That’s a disastrous amount of carbon in the atmosphere, especially for countries that are currently crafting grand plans to be carbon neutral around that time.
Battery technology and alternative clean fuels are picking up steam for short distance passenger vehicles and longer-range commercial cars and trucks. But the technology to implement those fuels for airplane and shipping transportation just isn’t yet feasible to make them commercially viable, and governments aren’t anywhere close to meaningfully supporting these industries to transition from fossil fuels.