What High Levels of Jet Pollution Could Mean

Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a determination under the Clean Air Act, stating that the greenhouse gas emissions from some types of aircrafts are contributing to overall levels of pollution and potentially harming the environment. The environmental recommendations went on to suggest that in addition to the improvement in technologies to reduce carbon emissions, there needs to be some type of cap enforced on the total number of aircrafts in commission.

EPA finds large commercial jets are main contributor

The research informing the recent statement made by the EPA last summer reveals that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide being released by large commercial jets are some of the main culprits behind the link to climate change. According to the EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation on why it’s so important to study jet exhaust pollution, “Addressing pollution from aircraft is an important element of U.S. efforts to address climate change. Aircraft are the third largest contributor to GHG emissions in the U.S. transportation sector, and these emissions are expected to increase in the future”.

In other words, jet exhaust emissions contain gases that are potentially contributing to the warming of our climate which can be harmful to us and to the environment. While the EPA didn’t issue any specific emission standards to the avionics industry, aircraft scientists and engineers anticipate that this determination will help inform the efficiency of future aircraft engines.

What’s needed in response to the EPA’s findings: two steps

First things first, aviation and environmental experts say that in order to address the jet exhaust pollution issue aircrafts, and more specifically the engines of the aircrafts, need to be built more efficiently. The way the fuel combusts and burns throughout the engine determines how much emission is let out of the jet, and since aircrafts are the third largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions into the air, improving the process of burning jet fuel so that it is more efficient would dramatically impact pollution caused by jet engines.

The second and perhaps more major step being advised by some in the environmental community concerns the number of aircrafts allowed in commission; in other words, limiting how many airplanes are allowed to fly. This is not a completely novel idea, as the strategy has been used with the auto industry and other as well, that contribute the same greenhouse gases as do large commercial jets with the goal of reducing the overall emission levels in the atmosphere.

Experts in both environmental protection and aviation science agree that both steps should be approached simultaneously in order to have a significant impact on the pollution created by the exhaust from jet engines and other aircrafts. Advancements in technology and engineering have helped to create some of the world’s most powerful machines capable of feats we never dreamed possible, and the age of climate change does not have to stop this tradition; it can actually help it to continue with just the right innovative change.