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Volcano and CO2

April 19, 2010

One side-effect of the eruption of the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano is that there is no more plane in the European sky for the last few days. On one side, people are obliged to stay longer on holidays, others can’t make business trips, some food and other items can’t be transported, plane companies are crying but train and coach ones are more than happy. The last week-end was sunny and a lot of people enjoyed going outside in North Europe.

Lavender Ash Cloud from tj.blackwell on Flickr

This morning, stuck in a traffic jam, I was wondering what is the amount of CO2 emissions saved by forcing planes to stay on the ground. And I found this great illustration from Information Is Beautiful:

planes or volcanos from InformationIsBeautiful

So, visually, forcing planes to stay on the ground has an impact. But experts says although this has caused a small fall in carbon emissions, it is unlikely to have any significant impact on climate (cited by The Guardian). I don’t really know who these experts are. I guess the newspaper wants us to believe what it wrotes as is. But continuing reading about the subject, one learns that although the industry seems to take the pollution aspect of flights into consideration, we are far from perfection.

Finally, what I like the most in this illustration, it’s that it’s backed by real data (see at the bottom of the cited post). BlueSkyModel.org also has some data on how to compute a flight carbon footprint.

Credits:
First illustration: Lavender Ash Cloud from tj.blackwell on Flickr
Second illustration: Planes or volcanos from InformationIsBeautiful.

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