Connection and its costs: Aviation and climate change

The development of air travel has been a primary contributor to globalization by collapsing distance and time. Since the mid-twentieth century, demand has consistently grown as flying has come to be perceived as a right of modern society. Global economies rely on transferring people, goods, and ideas with rapid speed, but what are the environmental costs of air travel?

Modern aviation is propelled by fossil fuel, consuming 5 million barrels of oil a day. The industry contributes to 2.5% of total carbon emissions, a figure that could rise to 22% by 2050 as other sectors emit less. Although aircraft are becoming more fuel efficient and some airlines have introduced carbon offset programs, there is currently no green way to fly 8 million people a day.

As part of The Five Thousand Pound Life: Transportation series, this session explored the future of air travel in the context of climate change. Experts in climate science and airport design shared their work, and their ideas on how to radically reduce greenhouse gases emissions from personal and business travel.

The Aviation and Climate Change event was organized by The Architectural League and held at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch on June 13, 2018.