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Half of the world's aviation emissions is caused by just 1% of the population, study finds

November 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Frequent fliers representing just 1% of the world's population accounted for more than half of total aviation emissions from passenger air travel in 2018, a new study says.

(CNN) — Frequent fliers representing just 1% of the world's population accounted for more than half of total aviation emissions from passenger air travel in 2018, a new study says.

But just 1% of the world's population were responsible for more than half of total emissions from passenger aviation, researchers found.

Aviation accounts for at least 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and the figure is expected to increase.

The United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization has said it expects emissions from international aviation to increase between two and four times by 2050.

Carbon dioxide is not the only way aviation affects the climate -- air travel also contributes other emissions, including nitrogen oxides and contrails, which have negative impacts on health and the environment.

"In a world that seeks to reduce carbon emissions, we need to look at those emitting the most," Gössling said, adding that current strategies by the aviation sector, including carbon offsetting and development of new fuels, are not effective enough in reducing fossil fuel consumption.

Even if the price of fuel was increased, or a tax on fuel introduced, Gössling told CNN that this would be unlikely to change the behaviors of the super wealthy, who could absorb such a cost with relative ease.

The research findings, published in the Global Environmental Change journal this month, "highlight the lack of and need for aviation climate governance -- possibly at national and regional scales -- to tackle emissions from aviation," researchers said.

Global net emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach "net zero" around 2050 in order to keep the warming around 1. 5 degrees C.

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