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News Picks : UN panel releases draft of rule limiting aircraft emissions

By: Physics Today
09 February 2016

Nature: On 8 February the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) released a draft of what may be the first global standard for greenhouse gas emissions for aircraft. The plan, which wouldn't take full effect until 2028, could decrease fuel consumption for new aircraft at cruising speed by 4% from current levels. However, many environmental groups believe the plan will not have a significant effect on global emissions because it does not call for any changes to currently operating aircraft and does not push for large enough changes on new aircraft. In addition, any decrease in emissions does not compensate for the predicted expansion of air travel. An analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation, a nonprofit research group, suggests that manufacturers could cost-efficiently reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new aircraft by 25% in 2024 and by 40% in 2034. It is likely that the US, the European Union, and some other countries will independently adopt their own, more stringent standards.

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