From the loaded conflict to productive collaboration 2019-01-23 A report on aviation’s impact on climate was the airline industry to see red
The researchers were criticised for engaging in extreme ways that count, broad assumptions and incorrect comparisons.
But thanks to a fruitful meeting was converted contradiction to the interaction, at the end of last year, came a new report that is based on cooperation. The researchers were greatly surprised by the strong reactions. – We knew it was a sensitive issue in the climate debate, and that our report could lead to reactions.
But this questioning was we are not prepared, ” says Jörgen Larsson, research assistant at the institute for space-, geo – and environmental sciences at the Chalmers university of technology. Conflicts can arise between research and industry on the basis of different perspectives and interests is a well-known phenomenon.
Curie has on several occasions taken up the example of this.
But it was nothing like Jörgen Larsson had in mind when he 2016, together with colleagues at Chalmers and KTH, gave a report on the climate impact from the Swedish international flights the years 1990-2014. The report was published on the Chalmers forskningsportal and was funded in part by the environmental protection agency.
Developed new metodI report, the researchers developed a new method to calculate the emissions from the air travel. The established way based on the amount of fuel tanked in Sweden. It means that if a person, for example, to travel from stockholm Arlanda airport to the USA, and stops over in Amsterdam, so is only included emissions between Sweden and the Netherlands. Jörgen Larsson and his colleagues took instead present a method which calculates the total discharge, all the way to the final destination.
They concluded that the flying accounted for about the same amount of greenhouse gases that car traffic in Sweden – not just for a few percent of the emissions as has previously been claimed.
The results attracted a lot of attention. The report was picked up by the news media, attracted the attention of environmental organizations, private individuals and, not least, politicians who used the results as an argument in the debate on the flygskatten. The report was the most downloaded publication from Chalmers forskningsportal during the period from september 2017 to August 2018.
The results were published in international, peer-reviewed scientific journal. All was not nöjdaMen not everyone was satisfied.
In a video interview from January 2018, criticised the research of Henrik Littorin, then acting secretary general of the trade association Svenskt Flyg. In the interview he claims that the scientists use an extreme way to count, makes broad assumptions and comparing apples and pears when the emissions in the world compared with the emissions in Sweden.
The interview was published on the site Flygkanalen operated by the organization Sweden’s regional airports. – I was taken aback by the aggressive and, in essence, baseless criticism. Just because our method of calculation is not the same as the currently established methodology, it is neither extreme or questionable, ” says Jörgen Larsson. The contradiction was picked up in an article in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
Uppeldat debattklimatHenrik Littorin is currently back on his regular duties as an analyst at the company, Swedavia, which owns and operates the airports. He looks back on the event with a degree of self-criticism and notes that his formulations were characterized by the uppeldade debattläget that prevailed. – At the same time, I do not think that one should have the right to criticise the researchers. What I wanted was to call into question some of the input values and calculations in their method, ” says Henrik Littorin.
Swedish air transport society’s views concerning some of the parameters in the report, that the calculations of the average distance of the flights, emissions per passenger kilometer and the management of the flight höghöjdseffekter, ” he explains now. The conflict also had the presidents of KTH and Chalmers to write an op-ed in Today’s News, together with researchers in the field.
The article calls for good manners and knowledge in the debate on aviation and climate. It was a good support from the management, ” notes the researcher Jörgen Larsson. Fruitful möteOch where could the story have ended.
But in the spring they met the researchers and representatives from the Swedish Air transport, on the initiative of a person from the central government initiative zero carbon Sweden.
– It was a fruitful meeting. We told you how we saw it and they explained their objections. It gave us a better understanding of each other and we were able to agree on things that are uncertain, says Jörgen Larsson. Even Henrik Littorin is pleased about the constructive meeting.– It was great. We got the dust off it that had been, and look ahead instead.
We started to think about what data we have that can make their model better, and saw that for some variables is possible to use the more secure figures, ” he says. Resulted in samarbeteMötet resulted in a collaboration, where scientists have access to more detailed data from Swedavia. – With their data we can make more accurate calculations if the average distance of the flights.
They may also look at and comment on the method and our results before we publish.
But they have no veto right, ” says Jörgen Larsson.
Cooperation is also positive from Its point of view, ” says Henrik Littorin. – It is better to be involved from the beginning and see what we can help with.
Then they take into account it if they want to or not, we do not have any point of view. But the discussions in this cooperation has been very valuable and constructive, we think, ” he says. Rewarding with direktkontakterEnligt Jörgen Larsson, the events have not influenced his views on the opportunities to engage in independent research. Rather, he has learned the importance of having contact not only with the environmental movement, often approaching him of their own accord, but also with the airline industry. – It is rewarding to have direct contacts also with them to understand their approach and get to know the data access that is – though of course we retain our critical perspective, ” he says.
Recently published Jörgen Larsson and his colleagues, an updated version of its report, this time with the data up to 2017, assisted with the data of Swedavia. . Text: Sara Nilsson .