Scientists warn that green flights are not easily accessible

contrail-covered aircraft

Though you might be wishing it, scientists warn that guilt-free flying is still a ways off.

Environmentally friendly jet fuels are a key component of plans for flying that is climate-friendly.

To achieve "jet zero" flying by 2050, the government must also switch to sustainable fuel.

But the Royal Society comes to the conclusion that there is currently no one, definite replacement for conventional fuel.

20.4 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and 8% of the UK's emissions are caused by aviation. These gases cause the atmosphere to warm, which contributes to climate change and global warming.

Governments and the aviation sector are experimenting with ways to lessen the climate impacts of conventional kerosene fuel as demand for flights is predicted to rise.

The 12.3 million tonnes of jet fuel used each year in the UK were replaced by four alternatives that were examined by the authors of the Royal Society report.

It came to the conclusion that there was no immediate alternative to fossil jet fuel.

Currently, a few airlines use a very small amount of biofuel made primarily from crops. Although London Heathrow uses more biofuels than any other airport in the world, it only makes up 0.05 percent of the fuel used there.

The Royal Society claims that using half of Britain's farmland to produce enough to meet the aviation industry's needs would strain food supplies.

Another choice is hydrogen fuel produced using green electricity. However, the UK does not currently produce enough green electricity to produce enough green hydrogen.

Chart showing emissions from different modes of transport

The inability of current plane engines to run on hydrogen-based fuel is another significant barrier.

Ammonia and synthetic fuels are also being considered, but it's not clear if existing aircraft could use them since they require even more green hydrogen.

According to the authors, it is still unclear precisely how much each alternative fuel would lessen flying's impact on the environment.

However, they emphasize that while an effective alternative fuel will likely be developed in the long run, new designs for airports and airplanes will be required.

They are urging more study into environmentally friendly aviation fuel, arguing that if the UK invested in finding a solution, it could take the lead on a global scale.

According to them, a new fuel must be commercially viable, secure, usable everywhere, and have a high enough energy density to be used on lengthy flights.

Environmental activists, however, contend that the government also needs to promote reduced air travel.

Leo Murray, director of innovation at climate charity Possible, asserts that "not all aspects of modern life in Western nations have an easy 'technofix' for the environmental harm they cause, and nowhere is this truer than for air travel.".

The small group of individuals who fly out of UK airports at a rate of roughly 70% are the target of his organization's call for the government to impose a tax on frequent flyers.

According to him, "A Frequent Flyer Levy would target reduced demand among the group responsible for the majority of the environmental damage today, while leaving the annual family vacation untouched."

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