Aviation has an image problem in this age of climate change as a major contributor of CO2, even if the reality is that as a CO2 producer the segment is responsible for just 3 percent of greenhouse gases (GHGs) globally. Business aviation emits just two-tenths of 1 percent of global GHGs from all sources, but this is cold comfort for a segment of aviation that, unlike the airlines, is closed to the public and therefore particularly vulnerable to scrutiny and hostility by that same excluded general public and the politicians they elect.
Business aircraft OEMs and engine manufacturers are aware that the huge strides in fuel efficiency over past decades are history now; the world’s populace expects further, massive cuts in emissions. Another avenue of attack on fuel burn is to make ATC a more efficient operational matrix from engine start to shutdown, but modernization here continues to be a contentious process slow to reap potential rewards. There’s a certain irony in the fact that some of those clamoring for aviation to clean up its act are the same loud voices who protest ATC reroutings over their backyards.
As predicted earlier in the pages of this magazine, climate change as a catalyst for global conflict is just beginning to warm up, and aviation is on the front lines.