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Global aviation (including domestic and international; passenger and freight) accounts for:

  • 1.9% of greenhouse gas emissions (which includes all greenhouse gases, not only CO2)

  • 2.5% of CO2 emissions

  • 3.5% of ‘effective radiative forcing’ – a closer measure of its impact on warming.

The latter two numbers refer to 2018, and the first to 2016, the latest year for which such data are available.

In a recent paper, researchers – David Lee and colleagues – reconstructed annual CO2 emissions from global aviation dating back to 1940. This was calculated based on fuel consumption data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), and earlier estimates from Robert Sausen and Ulrich Schumann (2000).

Environmental impact of aviation 

The contribution of weight & balance to reduce emmisions

Proper distribution of weight plays a large and important role in an aircraft’s overall performance. Load your airplane improperly, and it will affect its fuel consumption, speed, rate of climb, controllability, ceiling, and even structural integrity. 

The influence of of the center of gravity (CG) and the optimization of weight is described below. 


Fuel savings due to optimization of the center of gravity

The aircraft's center of gravity (CG) has a significant influence on the safety and efficiency, which are determined to a large degree by keeping the CG position within the forward and aft limits. Improper loading reduces the aerodynamics efficiency of an aircraft, resulting in higher flight drag. 

Proper weighing is necessary in order to keep the CG position between limits. 

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