In press and media, the FAA and industry groups often fail to make clear that the efficiency improvements are based on a “per flight” criteria, and that the growth of the aviation industry will far outpace these efficiency improvements.
The reduction in “per flight” emissions will not result in a reduction in overall emissions for the industry. The whole point of NextGen is to greatly increase the capacity of airports and number of planes in the air. More planes equates to an increase in net emissions, not a decrease.
To put it more simply: you can replace an old air conditioner with a more efficient unit, thus reducing emissions and saving energy. However, if you buy four new units for every room in the house, you’ve increased overall emissions, regardless of the efficiency of each individual unit.
According to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, a respected climate research institution, aviation emissions will double in the coming years. And the FAA expects the aviation industry to grow 90 percent by 2060. There’s nothing “green” about it.
Again, the increase in number of total aircraft through NextGen will lead to a substantial increase in overall emissions, regardless of “per flight” efficiency. And with respect to climate change, it is the overall numbers that really count, not “per flight” numbers. So why should NextGen flight procedures be exempted from a full environmental study based on a “per flight” emissions reduction?
Though the FAA and industry groups would have you believe that they have achieved carbon neutrality through NextGen, nothing could be further from the truth. There is no basis for the evasion of longstanding environmental laws and the FAA should conduct a Supplemental Environmental Impact Study on TNNIS immediately.
Brian Will is a fisheries biologist and a resident of Flushing.