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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on “Aviation and the Global Atmosphere” Published [1999]

This is the first IPPC report to concentrate on a specific sector and was undertaken jointly by independent scientists and experts from the aviation industry, include airlines and airframe and engine manufacturers. It provides the most comprehensive information on the impacts of aviation on the atmosphere to date

The IPCC Special Report “Aviation and the Global Atmosphere” was officially published in June 1999. The report, which took nearly two years to complete, was requested by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). This is the first IPPC report to concentrate on a specific sector and was undertaken jointly by independent scientists and experts from the aviation industry, include airlines and airframe and engine manufacturers. It provides the most comprehensive information on the impacts of aviation on the atmosphere to date. The summary for policy makers can be found online at www.ipcc.ch.

The main findings of the report

  • Aviation had contributed 3.5 % to human produced global warming by 1992
  • There will be an increase of between 2.6 and 11 times in the predicted radiative forcing of aviation by 2050 (0.13 and 0.56Wm-2 respectively), with the reference scenario predicting a radiative forcing of 0.19 Wm-2.
  • The overall contribution by aircraft (including NOx, H2O etc) is two to four times larger than by aircraft CO2 emissions alone
  • A new generation of supersonic aircraft would contribute 5 times more to global warming than the subsonic aircraft they would replace
  • According to the main scenario envisaged in the report, a fivefold increase in contrail cover is predicted by 2050
  • According to all IPCC scenarios, aviation could contribute up to 10 % of human-produced global warming in CO2 alone by 2050.

 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Website