Here Come Fuel Emission Standards for Airplanes

Considerable pressure is being mounted on the United States government, the United Nations, and the European Union to establish standards and regulations for limiting airplane emissions.

Commercial aviation is expected to swell in worldwide popularity during the first half of the 21st century, writes Christina Nuñez of National Geographic, and with this growth comes the promise of a larger carbon footprint:


"Airplanes sent about 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air in 2013, an amount set to more than triple by 2050. Yet efforts to regulate those emissions, as many countries do for cars and trucks, remained in a holding pattern for years — until now."

With regulations firmly placed upon the energy and automotive sector, the green movement has set its sights on aviation. As Nuñez notes, there is considerable pressure on the United States government, the United Nations, and the European Union to establish standards and rules for limiting airplane emissions. Environmental groups want authorities to nudge aerospace companies to further develop biofuels. Carbon taxes remain on the table as well.

It's not just aircraft manufacturers that could soon be facing regulations. Airlines are likely to be pressured into boosting fuel efficiency through better practices:

"Aside from the aircraft themselves, airlines can also improve how flights are fueled, flown, and routed. In four years of ranking U.S. airlines on fuel efficiency, [Dan] Rutherford says his group has found a consistent gap of about 26 percent between the best and the worst. (Alaska Airlines consistently scores at the top of the ranking, while American hovers at the bottom.)" 

Take a look at the piece linked below for more information on potential environmental regulations.

Read more at National Geographic.

In the Big Think interview below from 2010, aerospace engineer Burt Rutan imagines a future filled with taxi-like miniplanes:

Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less

7 fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Here are 7 often-overlooked World Heritage Sites, each with its own history.

Photo by Raunaq Patel on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations of high value to humanity, either for their cultural, historical, or natural significance.
  • Some are even designated as World Heritage Sites because humans don't go there at all, while others have felt the effects of too much human influence.
  • These 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites each represent an overlooked or at-risk facet of humanity's collective cultural heritage.
Keep reading Show less

Why the number 137 is one of the greatest mysteries in physics

Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • The fine structure constant has mystified scientists since the 1800s.
  • The number 1/137 might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.
  • Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists discover how to trap mysterious dark matter

A new method promises to capture an elusive dark world particle.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) devised a method for trapping dark matter particles.
  • Dark matter is estimated to take up 26.8% of all matter in the Universe.
  • The researchers will be able to try their approach in 2021, when the LHC goes back online.
Keep reading Show less