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Project Drawdown, Daniel Kane, Ruth Metzel; Senior Fellows: Mamta Mehra, Eric Toensmeier, Ariani Wartenberg; Senior Director: Chad Frischmann


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Economics, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Articles and Websites
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus


Efficient Aviation

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  • This article explores the replacement and retrofitting of airplanes to increase fuel efficiency, the financial considerations of implementing such technology, and the potential carbon emissions reduction that can accompany the widespread use of this technology.
  • Students will learn that intermediate generation aircrafts are more fuel-efficient than older models, the implementation of fuel-efficient technology can save trillions of dollars in the long-term, and the widespread adoption of this technology can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by many gigatons.
Teaching Tips


  • Some of the data comes from the Global Carbon Atlas.
  • This article also touches on sustainable jet fuels.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students need to understand how carbon dioxide emissions impact the Earth's climate.
  • Students may also need the terms retrofitting, freight, anthropogenic, and others defined prior to reading the article. 
  • If you click a link in this article, you won't be taken to a new tab.


  • Students can use this article for an informative essay on fuel-efficient technologies and their potential environmental impact.
  • Teachers can go over the main idea of key paragraphs in order to ensure comprehension.
  • This resource can be used in conjunction with other Project Drawdown articles about fuel efficiency, which can be found in the Table of Solutions.
  • For added context or to extend learning, students can research the other emerging aviation technologies mentioned, such as aviation biofuel and open rotor engines.
  • This article can support a classroom discussion on how governments can incentivize airlines to adopt fuel-efficient technologies.
Scientist Notes
This article introduces more efficient aviation as a solution to reducing emissions. A brief overview of reducing the use of fuel needed to fly single- and twin-aisle aircraft to reduce emissions is provided. The methodology of the study, possible scenarios for implementation, results of the study, and discussion about economic implications are included in the article. This article would be a great addition to a lesson discussing alternative methods for reducing carbon emissions. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-2 Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.3.9-12 Analyze the ways in which incentives influence what is produced and distributed in a market system.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.8 Evaluate the hypotheses, data, analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information.
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