PARIS — Excess carbon dioxide emissions from fashion companies in the U.S. alone amounts to a whopping 790 million metric tons a year — more than the combined emissions of all 50 states combined, according to a new study published Thursday by the International Air Transport Association.
That rate alone is so high that it means Europe’s fashion brands are “adding more carbon dioxide (and) coal use to global warming than flights, offshore shipping and aviation combined.”
To calculate the numbers, the IATA found that apparel and accessories manufacturers use carbon dioxide equivalent energy equivalent to about 0.5 percent of all the energy consumed by businesses globally. It then looked at where emissions are emitted. For example, textile manufacturing for North America, Asia and Europe accounted for 0.2 percent of emissions while European transportation accounted for 2.6 percent. Asia’s textile industry generated 2.9 percent of global emissions and regional manufacturing accounted for 8.5 percent.
For example, Europe’s textile industry emitted 0.06 percent of global emissions. Regional manufacturing accounted for 6.5 percent. Diesel, the fuel used in North America, accounted for 0.5 percent of global emissions. There’s also even a car component: air-conditioning equipment was responsible for about 0.1 percent of global emissions and those trucks only emitted 0.3 percent.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas that reaches the Earth’s atmosphere when produced by the burning of fossil fuels. It’s released as gases in the air as a result of burning coal, gas oil, oil sands crude, coal gas and natural gas. The United States emits almost three times as much CO2 per capita as Europe, which gets about four times as much.
Carbon dioxide has been grown on forests, with major emerging economies such as China and India producing growing amounts, contributing to global warming.
The new study from IATA, which represents mostly large, global airlines, concludes that addressing the problem can be accomplished by ensuring that all major airlines are reducing carbon dioxide emissions from passenger, cargo and other modes of transportation. It also recommends reducing greenhouse gas emissions on aircraft.