Airplanes are responsible for creating 12 percent of CO2 emissions from transportation sources in the U.S., and about 3 percent of the United States’ total CO2 emissions. Airplanes release nitrogen oxides into the air, which lead to the formation of the greenhouse gas known as ozone. The condensation trails (“contrails”) left by airplanes have been linked to an increased number of cirrus clouds, which warm the surface of the earth. Airplanes also release methane, another greenhouse gas. The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change thinks that aviation is responsible for about 3.5 percent of global warming. The number could increase to 15 percent by 2050 (or 0.23 to 1.45 Gt C/year).
This link provides a chart that shows the amount of CO2 emission that airplanes are estimated to emit and how much they are predicted to emit in the future:
The link also provides additional information and charts regarding airplane pollution.
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