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World’s Largest Airlines Yet To Work on Their “Emissions Intensity” Goals

The airline industry more broadly has set goals that include capping aviation's net emissions at 2020 levels, and halving net emissions by 2050 from 2005 levels, Dietz said.

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The plane was new. The weather was clear. Yet something was wrong, and the pilots tried to return to the airport. They never made it. Pixabay

Some of the world’s largest airlines have yet to set long-term targets to reduce their climate-changing emissions, climate and economic researchers warned Tuesday.

Top publicly listed airlines have cut their “emissions intensity” — how much pollution they produce for the same amount of activity — significantly in recent years, said researchers from the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute.

But they are not making clear plans for the much larger emissions reductions needed to meet internationally agreed climate goals, the researchers said.

Beyond 2020 and particularly in the long-term “the targets these airlines have set to reduce their emissions are not clearly consistent with the Paris Agreement goals,” said Simon Dietz, co-author of a study released Tuesday.

The Paris goals, agreed by world governments in 2015, call for keeping global temperature rise to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and ideally to 1.5C above pre-industrial times.

The study, which looked at 20 of the world’s largest publicly listed airlines, noted that air travel currently accounts for about 2 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, and 12 percent of transport-related emissions.

Airlines
The airline between 2016 and 2020 also is replacing 30 percent of its main fleet with aircraft 15 to 25 percent more fuel-efficient, Simmons said, and its fleet has seen a 9 percent increase in fuel efficiency since 2009. VOA

Cutting those emissions — and emissions from shipping — is particularly challenging because their mobile nature makes it harder for companies to use clean energy sources such as solar or wind power.

Alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, may offer long-term solutions but are still being developed.

The study, backed by investor groups, analyzed the public disclosures of airlines as a way of assessing their performance on combatting climate change, Dietz said.

The airlines were evaluated based on their carbon management practices and emissions performance. Airlines with lower emissions often had younger fleets, more passengers per flight and a focus on longer versus shorter flights, Dietz said.

Helen Vines Fiestas, the deputy global head of sustainability at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said the report raises key questions about what the aviation industry is prepared to do to contribute to climate change action in the long run.

Airlines, she said, should join forces and look at airline-related emissions as a joint problem, “asking how are we going to go about it” in making emissions reductions, she said.

But “this is just not what we are seeing, and this is what really worries us,” she said.

Carbon offsets

Many airlines have adopted industry targets to reduce net emissions, usually through “carbon offsetting,” which can include things like paying to plant carbon-absorbing forests or build clean energy systems elsewhere to compensate for airline emissions, Dietz said.

FILE - Delta Air Lines planes are parked at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, in Washington, Aug. 8, 2016.
Delta Air Lines planes are parked at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, in Washington, Aug. 8, 2016. VOA

Delta Airlines, for instance — rated in the study as one of the most active airlines on addressing climate issues — has committed to capping carbon emissions at 2012 levels, in part by purchasing offsets, according to Catherine Simmons, a spokeswoman for Delta.

Its website lets customers estimate their emissions and contribute to a range of carbon offset programs to compensate for them.

The airline between 2016 and 2020 also is replacing 30 percent of its main fleet with aircraft 15 to 25 percent more fuel-efficient, Simmons said, and its fleet has seen a 9 percent increase in fuel efficiency since 2009.

The airline industry more broadly has set goals that include capping aviation’s net emissions at 2020 levels, and halving net emissions by 2050 from 2005 levels, Dietz said.

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But that approach is not necessarily the most effective, he said, because reducing “net emissions” can be done through offsets rather than actual aviation emissions reductions.

“If you look at modeling by organizations like the International Energy Agency, it clearly shows that in the long run, the airline sector needs to reduce its own emissions,” he said. “We’re calling on airlines to make commitments that clearly show what they are going to achieve.” (VOA)

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Thousands of Australians Get Killed Each Year Due To Heat: Study

Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death In Australia, heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

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Climate change an official cause of death in Australia study suggests. Pixabay

Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death after a study published on Thursday found that heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

The study, published by Australian National University (ANU), found that excessive natural heat has been responsible for at least 50 times more fatalities than recorded on death certificates, reports Xinhua news agency.

A statistical analysis found that 36,765 deaths in Australia over the past 11 years could have been attributed to heat, but there were only 340. “Climate change is a killer, but we don’t acknowledge it on death certificates,” Arnagretta Hunter, a co-author of the study from the ANU Medical School, said in a media release.  “If you have an asthma attack and die during heavy smoke exposure from bushfires, the death certificate should include that information.

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Excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia. Pixabay

“We can make a diagnosis of disease like coronavirus, but we are less literate in environmental determinants like hot weather or bushfire smoke,” Hunter said, adding that heat is the most dominant risk posed from climate change in Australia. According to the study, excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia.

Hunter said the country’s death certificates must be modernized to capture the impact of global warming. “Climate change is the single greatest health threat that we face globally even after we recover from the coronavirus.

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“We know the summer bushfires were a consequence of extraordinary heat and drought and people who died during the bushfires were not just those fighting fires – many Australians had early deaths due to smoke exposure,” she said. (IANS)

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Air India Shuts Delhi Based HQ as Employee Tests Corona Positive

The headquarters will remain shut for 2 days

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Air India headquarters in Delhi will remain shut for 2 days as an emplyee was tested positive for the Novel Coronavirus. Wikimedia Commons

National carrier Air India on Tuesday shut its national capital-based headquarters, Airlines House, after an employee was tested Covid-19 positive. Accordingly, the building will be shut for two days for sanitisation work.

Under the safety protocols, work places of those employees who have tested positive required to be shut and sanitised to prevent the spread of the virus. The test report of the employee had come out last night.

“One of the employees attending office at Airlines House has tested positive for covid 19,” the airline said in a statement. “As Air India accords top priority to safety and wellbeing of its employees, the building will be closed for two days for sanitisation, adhering to protocol. All support is being extended to the employee concerned”.

In an unrelated development, five pilots of the airline, who had earlier tested positive for coronavirus, have now tested negative for the infection.

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The test report of the employee had come out last night. Wikimedia Commons

The new results were obtained after a re-test was conducted on the positive cases under Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the airline. The pilots had tested coronavirus positive when 77 pilots of the airline were tested on a priority basis on Saturday.

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All the five pilots didn’t have any symptoms and would be home-quarantined in Mumbai, people in the know said. These pilots operated Boeing 787 Dreamliners aircraft, and were tested to be deployed for duty under the Vande Bharat Mission to ferry back Indians stranded abroad.

The national carrier has also been engaged in transport of essential medical supplies amid the pandemic. Starting May 7, Air India has been engaged in one of the largest rescue operations in the world, whereby 64 flights would bring back over 14,000 people stranded in 12 countries in 7 days.

Many Indians have already arrived in several cities under the Mission. (IANS)

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All You Need to Know About Lung Cancer and Air Pollution

Find out more about the association of pollution with lung cancer

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Find out more about the association of pollution with lung cancer. Pixabay

IANSlife spoke to Dr Vikas Maurya, Director & Head, Department of Pulmonology & Sleep Disorders, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi to find out more about the association of pollution with lung cancer

Lung cancer

We know that today lung cancer is the most common cancer and is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Around 1.6 million people die every year. Tobacco smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. But it can also occur in people who have never smoked as well. As per literature, 15% of patients diagnosed with lung cancer have no history of tobacco use. And 20% of women who developed lung cancer have never smoked. In recent years a large number of patients are being diagnosed all over the world, including India, in whom there is no such history of tobacco smoking. The common causes of lung cancer in non smokers are: air pollution both outdoor and indoor, exposure to secondhand smoke, i.e passive smoking, Asbestos exposure, Radon gas exposure, diesel exhaust fumes and genetic predisposition.

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The risk of lung cancer is sometimes said to be similar to what is seen with passive smoking. The risk increases with increase in the level of air pollution. Pixabay

Air pollution and Lung cancer

The risk of lung cancer is sometimes said to be similar to what is seen with passive smoking. The risk increases with increase in the level of air pollution. Presently, as per WHO, air pollution have increased significantly in some parts of the world, mostly in low and middle income countries with large populations like India. There are two main types of outdoor air pollution: ozone and particle pollution. Both are harmful to our health, and particle pollution, in particular, is found to be associated with lung cancer.

Particle pollution is a mix of solid and liquid particles, which are comprised of different chemicals and biological components. They come from power plants, burning wood, diesel and fossil fuels. The particles that are most dangerous are the ones that are 2.5 microns or smaller (less than 1/7 the diameter of a human hair) also known as PM2.5 (Particulate Matter 2.5). PM2.5 is the best understood air pollutants, the risk of developing lung cancer increases as the level of PM2.5 increases. These particles are deposited in the lungs and are not destroyed by the body defense mechanisms and with less understood mechanism leads to changes in the cells and tissue and over a long period of time can cause cancer.

In the UK, it has been found that an estimated 7.8% of lung cancers each year are thought to be caused by PM2.5 air pollution exposure.

Indoor air pollution, the most common causes are cooking and heating the home with solid fuels (wood and coal) or cooking over open flames. This type of cooking paired with poor ventilation leads to high levels of indoor air pollution which can also contribute to lung cancer. Women and children are more likely to be affected by this indoor pollution due to their proximity to the cooking fire, and time spent in the household. Lower income populations across the world, like in rural India, China, are often where these high levels of indoor air pollution occur.

air-pollution
If it is necessary to go outside, wear the mask like Cambridge or Zukam mask (washable and reusable), or N99/N95 mask or at least simple cloth mask if none available to protect yourself from air pollution. Pixabay

Who is at risk

Anyone who lives where particle pollution levels are high is at risk.

Children, elderly, people with lung and heart disease and diabetes, people with low incomes, and people who work or exercise outdoors are at higher risk.

Also those who use solid fuels for cooking and heating at home are also at increase risk for developing lung cancer.

How to protect ourselves from air pollution and thus decreasing the risk of lung cancer

Certain measures can be adopted to protect ourselves from air pollution.

Important to be aware of the air quality index forecast for the day and limit the activity and thus exposure if pollution levels are high.

Avoid exercising along heavily travelled main roads or highways regardless of the overall forecast.

If it is necessary to go outside, wear the mask like Cambridge or Zukam mask (washable and reusable), or N99/N95 mask or at least simple cloth mask if none available.

Keep your indoor clean and ventilate at an appropriate time.

Can keep indoor plants at home to improve the quality of air at home.

Eating a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables and being healthy will also help in keeping us away from lung cancer by improving our immunity and defense mechanisms.

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As individuals, we can take steps to limit our contributions to local pollution sources by not burning wood or trash and not idling vehicles, especially diesel engines.

In developed countries with strict legislation and measures to decrease air pollution, there is a significant decrease in exposure to pollution and lung cancer, but it is still a major problem in other parts of the developing world, like India. (IANS)