Ryanair pollutes as much as coal fired power stations. The data comes from the EU emissions trading scheme registry. Ryanair’s flights in Europe are in the top 10 emitters. The 9 above are coal fired power stations. Ryanair pollutes more than other short haul airlines, its rival are further down the list. It could be because they use newer more fuel efficient aircraft, or it could be because Ryanair flies more. There are two countervailing things going on here. At the moment airline emissions make up only 3% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. However before we all book our next flight the output from this source is rising fast. Some estimates say there could be a 700% increase by 2050. That to me is a very surprising figure since it sort of implies an over 700% increase in flights (aircraft are getting more fuel efficient). I’m not sure where you would all these aircraft. Anyway leaving that aside…Conversely coal power is falling fast (at least in the EU). Could it be that airline emissions take over from coal power as the biggest EU emitters (at least those who have to buy permits)? At the moment airlines are exempted from fuel taxes and VAT on the fuel. They do have to buy permits under the trading scheme. This costs the whole lot of them 800million Euros a year i.e. nothing. Its reckoned that if they had to pay the above taxes then the costs would be an astounding 27 billion Euros. You can guess what’s going to happen, nothing. But until it does the airlines will have a free ride, whilst other sectors make sacrifices.