So it didn’t just look at the emissions that happen during aviation itself, but also the emissions that happen in producing the fuel and infrastructure required to fly. In the statement, the researchers emphasized that this is significant. Because if one assumes that air traffic will continue to grow as before, pure carbon dioxide emissions from flights will only account for about 20 percent of the total climate impact according to the calculations until 2050. The results are published in the journal Nature Communications.
According to the study, if aviation is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, it must reduce air travel by 0.8 percent annually if we stick to fossil fuels, along with other measures such as storing carbon dioxide in the ground. In 2050 it will be about 80 percent of today’s size. If it is possible to switch to more climate-friendly fuels, 0.4 percent per annum is sufficient.
This is because, according to the study, the energy densities of climate-neutral fuels cannot be used in all aircraft. Its energy density is sufficient only for small aircraft over short distances, in the case of hydrogen also for medium-sized aircraft over medium distances.
In order to achieve a reduction in air traffic, scientists have called for an increase in fares for flights in communications. “In order to fully offset the actual climate impact, the card would have to cost about three times as much as it does today,” said study author Romaine Saki of PSI in the press release.