IIn some circles, out-of-this-world green activists are seen as game purists trying to make life difficult for the rest of us. First he closed the coal mines, then he started opposing Jeremy Clarkson. Then came jet-set holidays and business-class aviation. These activists are often viewed as anti-happiness, as most of the activities they seek to end are a source of happiness for millions. The conflict that is emerging now is between those who want to save the planet by restricting international travel, and between engineers and innovators who are looking for a way out of the hole we are in now.
It is estimated that about 3 percent of greenhouse gases are produced by airlines. Aviation fuel is a mix of hydrocarbon chains that derive their origin from crude oil. When it is burned, the fuel produces carbon dioxide and water, most of which is released at very high altitudes. This represents about 12 percent of the CO2 generated by the transportation industry globally. (To put this in perspective, road transport produces 74 percent.) During the process of flying, a large airliner consumes less fuel per mile than your average family car. Given that a real aircraft can hold several hundred people, it is hard to imagine a more efficient form of transportation.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /