Europe counts saved carbon emissions as flights stay grounded



The grounding of 63,000 flights over the past four days has saved 1.3 million
tonnes of carbon dioxide, more than the annual emissions of many developing countries.

Aviation is responsible for about 2% of global emissions of CO2, but accounts
for a much higher proportion of emissions in European nations, which have many
frequent flyers.   Aircraft are responsible for more than 6% of Britain’s CO2 emissions.

On a normal day, the 28,000 flights in European airspace emit about 560,000 tonnes
of CO2, or a third of the world’s aviation emissions.

The Aviation Environment Federation calculated that the CO2 saving over four
days had been greater than the annual emissions of Malawi, Sierra Leone, Rwanda
and about 50 other developing countries.

Jeff Gazzard, the federation’s spokesman, said: "The use of trains, ferries and
video conferencing has skyrocketed as planes have been grounded. While volcanic
eruptions are not an everyday occurrence, surely the take-away message from the
past few days is that the world has not stopped revolving and people can find
alternatives to air travel. We hope that this will prompt people to stop and think
about whether their flight is really necessary."

The total environmental benefits of the grounding of aircraft may be far greater
because millions of business travellers have had to find alternative ways of communicating
— and some are likely to change their working habits permanently.