Mountain News: Emissions from air traffic rose nearly 31% 

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ASPEN, Colo.—Emissions associated with the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport rose nearly 31 per cent over a three-year period during which air traffic grew 19.8 per cent.

The Aspen Daily News explained that emissions resulting from commercial airline and private-jet operators accounted for almost 95 per cent of the total. Airport operations were responsible for more than two per cent. The final three percent was attributed to limousines, taxis, and other ground transportation.

The greenhouse gas emissions for 2014 through 2017 were identified by a consulting firm, Mead & Hunt, and reported to Pitkin County.

John Kinney, the airport director, told Pitkin County Commissioners that not only have the number of flights increased both during peak season and in the shoulder seasons, but corporate jets have become bigger. Too, more long-haul flights have been added.

Will biofuels help dampen this carbon footprint? Possibly, but it’s far off into the future, he said. The Wall Street Journal had the same assessment, calling biofuel use “a drop in a very big bucket.”

Transportation surpassed electrical production two years ago as the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency reported CO2 emissions from U.S. commercial aviation increased 6.2 per cent from 2010 to 2016. Passenger-car emissions increased 1.2 per cent during the same time.

Globally, air travel is believed to account for two per cent of carbon emissions.

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