CO2 has become an extremely pressing priority for voters and governments around the world. Put simply, human activity is resulting in too many emissions, and the planet is warming as a result.
Certain industries, like aviation, contribute disproportionately to this problem. In order to remain airborne, the average commercial jet must emit vast quantities of jet fuel – and there are other side-effects of this form of transport that drive the warming process in indirect ways.
Aviation, according to the best data, accounts for around 2.5% of global emissions. The number is closer to 3.5% when we account for these other, indirect drivers of climate change, which stem from aviation.
How are jet emissions measured?
In order to determine how much carbon a given plane is emitting, a private jet charter company might use a variety of so-called ‘emission factors’. These include the type of aircraft being used, the distance it is traveling, and the amount of load coming from the passengers, crew, and cargo.
These data can usually be sourced from the manufacturers, as well as generated in-house by the operator. Having crunched the numbers, we can then estimate just how much carbon is being released.
It’s important to note that no method of measuring emissions in this way is going to be entirely precise. But this might not be necessary. As long as we can form a solid estimate over a long enough timeframe, we can get an actionable picture of the problem.
How are private jet companies addressing the problem?
Once we have a good idea of the scale of the problem, we can think about action to mitigate the effects. Rent a private jet, and the chances are that you’re contributing to one or more of these initiatives.
In the short term, we can make sure that we’re using the most efficient engines, fuels, and methods available. This is something that manufacturers are constantly looking to improve.
The aircraft itself might also be made from more lightweight materials, like carbon fiber. These materials tend to have another advantage, too: they’re tougher and longer-lasting. So, by spending more upfront on the plane, the long-term cost of aviation can be driven down.
Carbon offsetting can also be helpful. This is the practice of investing in initiatives that remove carbon from the atmosphere in the long run, like tree planting and renewable energy.
Finally, we should consider biofuels. These are types of fuel that don’t rely on fossil fuels, but instead come from plants grown just for the purpose, of farms. Naturally, land that is being used for this purpose is land that can’t be forested, so the overall picture is a little more complicated. It’s fair to say, however, that, on balance, biofuels are more desirable than the fossil-fuel equivalent.