Grounding of Europe’s Jets Cancels Out CO2 Emissions from Volcano

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The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano is spewing a substantial amount of CO2 into the atmosphere every day, but the grounding of most airplanes in Europe is offsetting the volcano’s carbon emissions.

Scientists estimate that the volcano is emitting 150,000 to 300,000 tons of CO2 per day, an amount equal to the daily emissions of a small- to medium-sized European country.

But according to estimates from the European Environment Agency and other groups, daily CO2 emissions from the aviation industry in the 27 nations of the European Union are 344,000 to 440,000 tons per day.

Not all planes in Europe are grounded, but the travel gridlock over the continent has grounded thousands of flights from other continents, all of which cancels out any emissions impact from the volcano.

Scientists estimate that Eyjafjoell’s ongoing daily emissions are less than a third of one percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

photo: NASA

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.