Suppressed Aviation Report Forecasts 'Massive Environmental Damage'

LONDON, UK, May 7, 2008 (ENS) – Climate change emissions by the airline industry, airport noise, and local air pollution are all trending sharply upwards, according to a suppressed report based on information contained in U.S., European and UK government databases maintained by regulatory agencies.

The technical report was submitted to the 7th US/Europe Air Traffic Management Research and Development Seminar held in Barcelona, Spain last summer.

But it was not accepted for publication by seminar organizers and remained unpublished until released to the public on April 24 by the Aviation Environment Federation, the principal UK nonprofit concerned with the environmental effects of aviation.

An Airbus A380 departs from London’s
Heathrow Airport. (Photo by Ian
Britton courtesy

Calling it a “shock report,” the Aviation Environment Federation says that between the years 2000 and 2025 the rapid growth in aviation globally is set to generate “massive environmental damage.”

Emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from aviation are forecast to more than double – from 572 million metric tonnes in 2000 to 1,229 million metric tonnes in 2025.

“Aviation emissions on this scale run a severe risk of overwhelming all CO2 reduction targets,” said Jeff Gazzard of the Aviation Environment Federation, AEF.

But the latest UK Department for Transport’s projection of future aviation emissions, released in November 2007 contains a 2050 figure for aviation carbon dioxide of 60.3 million tonnes – way below the figures in the suppressed report.

Emissions of nitrogen oxides, which cause air pollution around airports and at high altitude, are predicted in the report to more than double – from 2.5 million tonnes to 6.1 million tonnes.

“This suppressed report forecasts shocking and continually rising impacts from aviation’s major environmental impacts on a region by region basis,” said Gazzard.

Aircraft at Heathrow, one of the world’s
busiest airports. (Photo by Ian
Britton courtesy

Gazzard presented some of the report’s key findings to the UK All-party Parliamentary Sustainable Aviation Group on April 23.

He shared with the legislators the report’s finding that the number of people affected by aircraft noise is forecast to rise from 24 million to 30.3 million.

Noise above World Health Organization guideline levels will grow from impacting 1.4 million people across Western Europe in the year 2000 to impacting 3.98 million people in 2025, the report predicts.

Gazzard called this increase in noise impacts, “an intolerable public health burden dumped unasked and unwanted on airport communities.”

With local air quality impacts from nitrogen oxide levels around airports forecast to rise, the report itself acknowledges these “may lead to adverse health effects.”

“We urgently need to look at demand management through tough green taxation and behavioral change messages to start to control and reduce all of these negative environmental impacts,” said Gazzard, “more aircraft noise, worsening air quality around airports and growing climate change emissions are totally unacceptable!”

To view the report, entitled “Trends in Global Noise and Emissions from Commercial Aviation for 2000 through 2025,” click here [].

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