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Magdalena Heuwieser


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Civics, Justice

Resource Type

  • Article

Regional Focus

Global, Europe



The Illusion of Green Flying

  • This 24-page report discusses the many ways that the goals for reducing or offsetting emissions to allow for carbon-neutral growth in aviation may not be realistic solutions in the near-term and/or could even be counterproductive. 
  • The article includes graphs, images, and specific examples. 
Teaching Tips


  • This resource takes a critical look at what it might take to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions from aviation to levels that will comply with the Paris Climate Accord Agreement.
  • It identifies biofuels as a psuedo-solution, highlighting the numerous negative impacts of industrial agriculture.
  • It  highlights the unintended consequences of carbon offsets.

Additional Prerequisites

  • It would be beneficial to research more information about the current efforts to reduce emissions and offset emissions, as the paper is very critical of the current efforts and takes the stance that the only solution is to severely limit air travel and air transport.
  • The article is very long and it would be good to break it up into chunks or assign select pages.


  • Students may be surprised to learn that efforts to improve efficiencies and offset emissions from aviation may not be as beneficial as intended, but this could provide an opportunity for students to discuss ways to support the solutions and/or improve current efforts.
  • Cross-curricular connections can be made with social studies and civics when discussing the social costs of airport construction, airport expansion, carbon offsets, biofuels, and the climate pollution from a growing aviation industry.
Scientist Notes
The resource is recommended for teaching environmental justice. Data used to give insights on aircraft emission is accurate.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.12.9-12 Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
      • D2.Civ.13.9-12 Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences.
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