Kyoto Protocol took effect in
February 2005. At present emissions from air
traffic are excluded from the
European Union emission trading scheme. Air traffic is
globally heavily subsidized and the aviation fuels are
practically tax free.
People fly around the globe mostly for fun
and at the same time pollute our planet. Climate change is a
challenge we must meet. We are also approaching the so-called
peak oil. Peak oil means that global oil output will gradually
start to reduce. Replacing oil in the transport sector is
challenging, particularly so in air traffic.
Luckily there are technically easy and
readily available solutions, such as higher fuel efficiency
standards and higher fuel taxation, which would lead to
smaller cars and more sustainable use of them. In air traffic
there are measures that should be taken, such as heavy
taxation of aviation fuel. Unfortunately these solutions are
politically difficult. Politicians want economic growth, and
consumption walks hand in hand with economic growth.
The intent of this site
is to affect attitudes and help people to adapt more
sustainable living styles.
The flying impact calculator is based
The distance calculators give the distance
the “crow flies”. In practice, the flight distances are
considerably longer. Hence the results given in the boxes are
The main data used in the calculations are
Eyers et al. , Whitelegg and
Cambridge  and Heaps et al. . The most recent detailed civil aviation (no
military or non-commercial aviation was included) data were
available for year 2002:
156 million tonnes aviation fuel
492 million tonnes carbon dioxide emissions from
burning kerosene 
3166 billion revenue passenger kilometers (rpk)
93.49%, share of passenger traffic in civil
Crude oil consumption.
Average aviation fuel (kerosene) consumption per revenue passenger kilometer
(rpk) is 46.06 g. The resulting carbon dioxide emission are
145.3 g per rpk. Ideal gas law
is used in calculating liters of carbon dioxide released to
Today, for producing diesel fuel, the losses between oil wells and
filling stations for transportation, refining and
distribution, are about 13.22% . Thus the well-to-tank
efficiency of diesel is 86.78% per cent. This means that the
real fuel (crude oil) consumption and the real carbon dioxide
emissions are greater. The well-to-tank efficiency
for kerosene is assumed to be the same as for diesel.
The following parameters have been used
in determining the crude oil consumption and carbon dioxide
35.59 MJ/L, lower heating value of kerosene
lower heating value of crude oil
73.4 g CO2/MJ, specific carbon
dioxide emissions of crude oil
819.18 g/L, density of aviation fuel (kerosene)
Heating and ventilation of the plane halls, deicing,
land-vehicle fuel consumption etc. could also be taken into
account. However, these factors raise the crude consumption
only about 2% and in this analysis they are neglected. Manufacturing and scrapping of aeroplanes have
not been taken into account.
"Tonnes of carbon dioxide released to atmosphere by the group/family, two-way
flight" 2463.4 g carbon dioxide is released when one liter crude
oil is burnt. In fact, this figure could be doubled, because
the carbon dioxide in higher atmosphere is twice as harmful.
"Euros would cost to buy carbon emissions (if aviation was not excluded in the EU carbon dioxide trading scheme)"
One CO2 emission trading tonne is about 20 euros.
However, it can be assumed that about 80% of the carbon
emission allowances will be given free for the airliners. Thus,
a tonne of carbon dioxide would cost just 4 euros.
"Euros more the flight would cost, if aviation fuel had the same tax as road transport fuel in EU"
Aviation fuel price per liter is about 0.8 euros less than average EU-15 road-transport gasoline
“Equivalent to idling a family car nonstop”
is calculated using an assumption that a car consumes one liter of fuel an hour, when it is in idle motion. This means
that the car must be refueled every other day. The result is
given in days of nonstop idle motion.
“Equivalent to driving with a family car”
calculated for an average passenger car sold in European Union
(EU-15 in 2001). The result is given in road kilometers for the car that equal the fuel consumption of the given
flight allocated for the given number of passengers. An
average new passenger car in EU-15 in 2001 had an EU combined
fuel efficiency of 6.77 L/100 km . Diesel share of new
passenger cars was 33.27%. In the well-to-tank analysis for
the fuel, 84.14% efficiency was used, the weighed efficiency
of gasoline and diesel production cycle.
Some time in the future we run out of oil.
Flying to holidays and driving SUVs means that our
grandchildren do not have this one-time gift anymore. Biofuels
are one alternative to oil. “Hectares cropland needed for equivalent biofuel
production” calculates the land required to
produce ethanol from wheat to fuel the given flight. In the
years 2004 and 2005, the average wheat crop production was
2863 kg/ha in USA [National Agricultural Statistics Service USDA,
November 2005]. One kg of wheat yields 0.358 L of ethanol [Idaho
National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, D.E.
Shropshire et al]. Hence the ethanol yield is 1024 L/ha. It
takes some 1.5 liters of ethanol to give the energy of one
liter fossil aviation fuel because of about one third lower
energy content of ethanol. In the future, our agricultural
land is used both in food and energy production. The
ethanol yield per hectare used in the calculations is from
modern fossil-based "industrial" agriculture. If ethanol is
produced in a sustainable way, the cropland needed would be
“Amount of breads the cropland could produce”
calculates how many loaves of bread the above calculated
cropland could produce, if it was not used for fuel
production. It has been estimated that 7.5
tonnes of wheat is enough to make 11,500
loaves of bread [The flour and grain education programme,
"m2 clear-cut forest area would be needed to produce equal amount of fuel ethanol from wood"
[Klemola Kimmo, unpublished life-cycle
"m3 firewood in woodpile that forest area would give"
One hectare gives about 115 m3 pile of firewood.
1. Eyers C.J.,
Norman P., Middel J., Plohr M. Michot S., Atkinson S.,
Christou R.A., Aero2k global aviation emissions inventories
for 2002 and 2025, QinetiQ Ltd for European Commission,
2. Whitelegg J., Cambridge H., Aviation and sustainability
– a policy paper,
Stockholm Environment Institute, July, 2004.
Charles, Kemp-Benedict Eric, Raskin Paul, Conventional
worlds: technical description of bending the curve scenarios,
Stockholm Environmental institute, The Global Scenario
Group, PoleStar Series Report no. 9, 1998.
4. Wang M.Q.,
Transportation fuel-cycle model,
volume 1: methodology, development, use, and results, Center
for Transportation Research, Energy Systems Division, Argonne
National Laboratory, August, 1999.
5. Monitoring of ACEA’s commitment on CO2 emission reduction from
passenger cars (2001) final report, Joint Report of the
European Automobile Manufacturers Association and the
Commission Services, June 25, 2002.