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Is the aviation industry free-riding on climate change efforts?

Latest update : 2018-02-16

By Florence VILLEMINOT , Marina BERTSCH , Valérie DEKIMPE

In the fight against climate change, more and more sectors are hopping on board the global movement to protect the planet. But one industry is an exception to the rule: the aviation industry. We take a closer look.

It may try to keep a low profile, but aviation is increasingly in the spotlight for its climate footprint. Unlike other sectors, greenhouse gas emissions aren’t decreasing. It’s never been easier or cheaper to fly, so global air traffic is taking off. Today aviation accounts for 2% of global emissions, the equivalent of France, and it’s expected to cruise up to 20% in 2050.

So is aviation the climate bogeyman? Critics say the industry benefits from preferential treatment that allows it to be a climate free-rider. It’s the only sector, along with maritime traffic, not covered by the Paris agreement. And that’s just one of a long list of perks.