No easy solution to slash aircraft carbon footprint

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A woman and her two children watch a Finnair passenger plane arrive at Tegel Airport on October 17, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
An ongoing study by the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) claims it would take a major change to reduce the carbon footprint of flights.

Jonas Åkerman, one of the researchers, says “biofuel is only one part of the solution, not the whole solution.”

Zero emissions could be achieved if hydrogen gas produced with fossil-free energy could be used, and flying 8000 metres lower, but this is some time away from happening.

“The problem is reducing the level of existing carbon emissions from the latest decades,’ says Jonas Åkerman, “and then a new airplane would have to be designed and whole fleets replaced, which could take 40 to 60 years.”

However, the recent trend towards vegetarian and vegan food could mean more possibilities of producing biofuel in the future.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Indigenous Cultural Tourism: How the North is learning from community success in southern Canada, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Rise in overseas flights harms climate more than driving, report shows, Yle News

Iceland: Arctic tourism in the age of Instagram, Eye on the Arctic special report

Norway: When a town in Arctic Norway transforms into “the world’s northernmost Chinatown”, Cryopolitics Blog

Russia: Arctic flights save time, but fuel climate change, Cryopolitics Blog

Sweden: Growing number of Swedes choose train travel over flying to reduce pollution, Radio Sweden

United States: Blog – When the ice melts, what will happen to Arctic tourism?, Cryopolitics blog

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