Little more than a week ago, on May 16, the Air Transport Association (ATA) testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on climate change and energy independence. Their agenda? The carbon efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions of American airlines.
It was the contention of ATA CEO James C. May that airlines are environmentally responsible and carbon efficient, noting that commercial flight account for only 2 percent of domestic greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, May highlighted the “aggressive” fuel conservation programs of many airlines. Since 2001, commercial airlines have improved their fuel efficiency by 35 percent. May added, “Commercial airlines are extremely carbon efficient. We are the greenest form of mass transportation.”
This news should be heartening to those who must fly frequently for business but who are concerned about ever rising gas prices, global warming, and the overall depleting state of the environment. I myself was somewhat shocked that the ATA has taken — and continues to take — such a progressive and proactive role in lowering emissions.
It would seem that those of us who care about the environment can take a cue here. What is your impact on our ecology? What can you do to lessen your negative impact on the environment? While flying less would certainly make a difference, it would seem that how you arrive at the airport is of greater consequence.