Thursday December 12, 2019

Airplane Contrails- Major Cause of Global Warming; to Triple the Impact on Climate by 2050

In 2005, air traffic made up about five per cent of all anthropogenic radiative forcing, with contrails being the largest contributor to aviation's climate impact

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airplane contrails, global warming
File: Contrails of KLM Boeing 747-400 over Khimki 22-Oct-2011. Wikimedia Commons

Researchers have found that contrails – the white lines that airplanes leave behind in the sky – are a major cause of global warming and their impact on the climate was expected to triple by 2050.

The study, published on Thursday in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, found that due to increased air traffic activity, contrail-induced warming was expected to be thrice larger in 2050 than what it was in 2006.

Contrails change global cloudiness which creates an imbalance in the Earth’s radiation budget – called radiative forcing – that results in warming of the planet. The larger this radiative forcing, the more significant the climate impact.

Noting that non-carbon dioxide climate impacts could not be neglected, researchers said that the increase was predicted to be faster than the rise in carbon dioxide radiative forcing since expected fuel efficiency measures would reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

airplane contrails, global warming
In 2005, air traffic made up about five per cent of all anthropogenic radiative forcing, with contrails being the largest contributor to aviation’s climate impact. Pixabay

The increase in contrail radiative forcing was due to air traffic growth and a shift of flight routes to higher altitudes. According to researchers, cleaner aircraft emissions would solve part of the problem. In 2005, air traffic made up about five per cent of all anthropogenic radiative forcing, with contrails being the largest contributor to aviation’s climate impact.

ALSO READ: Yoga Can Help the World in Fighting Climate Change, Fostering Global Harmony: UN

“It is important to recognise the significant impact of non-carbon dioxide emissions such as contrails on climate and to take those effects into consideration when setting up emission trading systems or schemes like the Corsia agreement,” said the study’s lead author Lisa Bock from the German Aerospace Center.

Corsia – UN’s scheme to offset air traffic carbon emissions from 2020 – ignores the non-carbon dioxide climate impacts of aviation. (IANS)

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Greta Thunberg Tells World Leaders to Stop Using ‘Creative PR’

Greta Thunberg accuses world leaders of 'creative PR'

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Climate activist Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg a is a young climate activist from Sweden. Wikimedia Commons

Teenage activist Greta Thunberg has called upon world leaders to stop using “clever accounting and creative PR” to avoid real action on climate change.

Speaking at a UN climate change summit, Thunberg said the next decade would define the planet’s future, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

She accused world leaders of making constant attempts to find loopholes to avoid making substantial changes.

The teenage activist’s appearance came after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called her a “brat”.

“The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening when, in fact, almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR,” the 16-year-old Swede told the COP25 Climate Conference in Madrid, drawing applause.

Summits on climate change seemed “to have turned into some kind of opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition”, she added.

Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg said the next decade would define the planet’s future. Wikimedia Commons

The clock was ticking as the decade comes to a close, she said.

“In just three weeks we will enter a new decade, a decade that will define our future. Right now, we are desperate for any sign of hope,” she said.

This was meant to be a big moment in the talks, the elixir of the “Greta effect” bringing new energy to a flagging process.

The teenager is almost certainly the most famous person here, attracting far more attention than other celebrities like Al Gore, and the UN badly needs a boost.

Her talk came over as measured, grounded in the latest research, and avoided the flash of hurt and anger she displayed in New York in September.

Looking around the hall, it was striking how many of the national delegations had not turned up for this morning session at the conference.

A snub by the big fossil fuel economies? Or maybe they were too busy in the negotiations themselves?

In any event, the passion among the millions of young people who’ve taken to the streets to demand action on climate change feels very remote from the diplomatic struggles in these halls.

Thunberg’s speech comes after the far-right Brazilian leader lashed out at her after she expressed concern about the killing of indigenous Brazilians in the Amazon.

Also Read- “The World is Watching”, says Antonio Guterres

“Greta said that the Indians died because they were defending the Amazon,” Bolsonaro told reporters.

“It’s impressive that the press is giving space to a brat like that,” he added, using the Portuguese word for brat “pirralha”.

The activist responded by changing her Twitter bio to Pirralha. (IANS)