Aviation represents less than 3 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, but its contributions were a major focus at last month’s United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change following the EU’s proposal to include aviation in a new international agreement. The goal of the two-week convention–held from December 3 to 14 in Bali–was to negotiate a climate change deal that will replace the current Kyoto Protocol agreement when it expires in 2012.
Even before the negotiations began, however, the aviation industry had recognized the need to address the issue head on. “If we aren’t proactive [about] stepping up to the plate and addressing issues such as noise and emissions, society will be proactive for us,” noted a board member of the Lindbergh Foundation, an organization that provides funding and recognition to individuals whose research projects advance aviation technology while simultaneously protecting the environment. And from the creation of new engine and manufacturing technologies to involvement in “green” program development and emissions offsetting programs, the industry has indeed been stepping up to the plate.
This special report examines the ways in which aviation is changing its business practices and describes the many different methods being used. It also attempts to answer the one question in many people’s minds: Is it worth it?