Evaluating policies for reducing aircraft emissions

The global expansion of air traffic and its contribution to carbon dioxide pollution is a timely research question in light of international efforts to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. With growth in air traffic predicted at 5% per year over the next 20 years, the beneficial effects of significant fuel savings through improved technologies will be negated within 10 years. In addition to burning fuel, high altitude emissions unique to aircraft are estimated at twoand-a-half times the magnitude of carbon dioxide. Dr Kevin Anderson at Tyndall Centre North is evaluating a policy approach of contraction and convergence to see how it can be applied to the aviation industry. Contraction and convergence is an international policy mechanism for nations to progress towards equal greenhouse gas emissions according to their population. This first stage of the research is a desk study to review the literature on contraction and convergence to analyse the structure and assumptions of the CCOption model that has been developed by the Global Commons Institute. The project also reviews the potential for emissions reductions from innovations in aviation technology. The aim is then to review the scope for reducing carbon emissions from the aviation industry up to 2050, and to modify the CCOption model. The run of CCOption will be repeated for different ratios of global to UK populations, and will provide a series of alternative scenarios and trajectories for meeting target atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. The next stage of the project identifies the implications of contraction and convergence for allocating aviation-related emissions between nations, and refines the model for its application to the UK’s aviation industry. A second set of scenarios will predict the contribution of the effect of high altitude emissions that are unique to aircraft. The final stage discusses the findings with government departments, the aviation industry, and researchers.

Dr Kevin Anderson at Tyndall Centre North is evaluating international policy for reducing the carbon dioxide pollution of the UK’s aviation industry. High altitude emissions unique to aircraft are estimated at two-and-ahalf times the magnitude of carbon dioxide.

More information
Contact the lead investigator of Project T3.23 (Contraction and convergence: UK carbon emissions and the implications for UK air traffic) Dr Kevin Anderson Tyndall Centre North School of Mechanical Engineering UMIST PO Box 88 Manchester M60 1QD kevin.anderson@umist.ac.uk Other researchers involved in this project are: Dr Paul Upham, Centre for Aviation, Transport and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University

Useful Websites
The Centre for Aviation, Transport and the Environment www.cate.mmu.ac.uk ARIC, Manchester Metropolitan University www.doc.mmu.ac.uk/aric The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research www.tyndall.ac.uk

Round 3

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