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20 Apr 2010: Grounding of Europe’s Jets
Cancels Out CO2 Emissions from Volcano

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Planes or volcano? A comparison of daily CO2 emissions
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 percentage point of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

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