of planes and trains and 4WDs

Subject: of planes and trains and 4WDs
From: Peter Woodall <>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 09:28:01 +1000
In our recent discussion of the relative demerits of various
forms of transport (4WD vs Jumbo jets, etc), I lacked any
real facts.

Now, with a little web surfing, I have come up with some
that show, as I suspected, that jumbo's are major pollutants.

Make your own conclusions about your next holiday 
- in Aus (with a 4WD??) or overseas.

Estimates have shown that, for a 500-km journey, the emission of 
CO2 per passenger-kilometre (pkm) is the
lowest for buses (22 g/pkm) and the highest for planes (146 g/pkm),
while high-speed trains and private cars emit
48 g/pkm and 86 g/pkm, respectively. Buses and planes are the 
biggest emitters of NOx (479 mg/pkm and 440 mg/pkm); 
private cars and high-speed trains emit much less NOx 
(between 145 and 270 mg/pkm and 87mg/pkm).
     [Data transmitted by the Government of the Netherlands.]

     On average, the complete combustion of 1 kg of jet A1 aviation 
fuel has been estimated to generate about 3.16
     kg of CO2, 1.25 kg of H2O and 1 g of SO2. Estimates of fuel 
sales to airlines suggest that this would amount to
     more than half a billion tons of CO2 and some 2 million tons 
of NOx emitted each year by aircraft worldwide.
     94% of these emissions occur in the northern hemisphere, mainly 
in North America (44%) and Europe (30%).
     Most occur at an altitude of 9 to 13 km. It has been estimated 
that 44% of all fuel is consumed above the
     tropopause - the limit between the troposphere and the stratosphere.
 Civil aviation is responsible for most of this
     air pollution, but military aviation also plays a significant role. 
The impact of light aviation is mainly local.

     For more information, please contact:

     Mr. Lars NORDBERG, Deputy Director
     Environment and Human Settlements Division
     United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
     Palais des Nations, Office 346
     CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

     Telephone: (+41 22) 917 23 54
     Fax: (+41 22) 907 01 07



Dr Peter Woodall                          email = 
Division of Vet Pathology & Anatomy             
School of Veterinary Science & An. Prod.  Phone = +61 7 3365 2300
The University of Queensland              Fax   = +61 7 3365 1355
Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4072             WWW  =
"hamba phezulu" (= "go higher" in isiZulu)


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