Academic Master

Environmental Science

Emissions Trading and Carbon Offsets

EU has been implementing climate policies and taking measures against greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. A newer policy was made in 2014 with different goals set to achieve till 2030. In 2020, EU was well on the way to achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. UN had set goals in 2015 to reduce global warming and reach climate neutrality by the second half of this century, which means no net greenhouse gas emissions will be produced. The US has set many goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, however, these deadlines have passed and the US greenhouse gas emissions continue to be on an upward trend. In 2005, the US introduced new goals and these were then used by every State as a baseline to achieve its emission reduction targets (Williams, 2012).

The US Aviation Industry in partnership with the United States Government also used the 2005 emission reduction as a baseline and committed to achieving carbon neutrality in 2020 by reducing the industry’s carbon footprint and enhancing the safety protocols and efficiency of the National Airspace System. In 2012, an update was made in United States Aviation Greenhouse Emission Reduction plan, to include both domestic and international aviation (Winchester, 2013).

Aviation emissions are typically mentioned as an afterthought as opposed to power plants and cars since the impact on the environment caused by these is talked about a lot more than Aviation emissions. There are more articles, news, and discussions on CO2 produced by power plants and cars than there are on Aviation. The program introduced by the Aviation industry can prove to be effective if it is followed strictly. The improved airframe and engine technology will be more efficient in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Improving aircraft operations and developing and deploying alternative jet fuel will also support in achieving the goal of carbon neutrality.

Other approaches that can be used to mitigate the impact of commercial aviation emissions on the environment are developing more efficient aircraft that are designed to reduce carbon footprint, reducing air travel time by setting more efficient flight paths and reducing flight delays.


Williams, J. H., DeBenedictis, A., Ghanadan, R., Mahone, A., Moore, J., Morrow, W. R., & Torn, M. S. (2012). The technology path to deep greenhouse gas emissions cuts by 2050: the pivotal role of electricity. Science, 335(6064), 53-59.

Winchester, N., Wollersheim, C., Clewlow, R., Jost, N. C., Paltsev, S., Reilly, J. M., & Waitz, I. A. (2013). The impact of climate policy on US aviation. Journal of Transport Economics and Policy (JTEP), 47(1), 1-15.



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