Boeing Launches Climate Impact Modeling Tool


Boeing has publicly released a data modeling tool designed to identify the effects of sustainability solutions on aviation carbon emissions. Called the Boeing Cascade Climate Impact Model, the tool looks at “the full life cycle of alternate energy sources for aviation—from production through distribution and use—and quantifies the ability to cut aviation’s carbon emissions.” In addition, Cascade lets users model decarbonization strategies such as airplane fleet renewal, operational efficiency improvements, renewable energy sources, future aircraft and market-based measures.

“We created Cascade to serve as an industry tool that creates a common framework among aviation, energy, finance and policy,” said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond. “By putting data first and sharing this model with the public, we are enabling collaboration, feedback and alignment across industry, government and others who work together to achieve a more sustainable aerospace future.”

Among its key takeaways from Cascade assessments, Boeing found that sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will probably be the biggest contributor to reducing carbon emissions given that it can be used in commercial aircraft models currently flying. As for new technologies, Cascade assessments suggested that emerging electric- and hydrogen-powered aircraft will likely provide only limited contributions to emissions reduction through 2050 “due to long timeframes for development and deployment and the magnitude of related infrastructure changes for airports and pipelines.” Alongside the modeling tool, Boeing introduced the Cascade User Community working group, which will offer feedback on new features, functions and application programming interfaces.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Its cheaper to do this and was probably done with Gov grant money. And it reminds me of the Fox watching the hen house as well.

  2. Complete waste of money and time. They should be ashamed at this total waste. People need mental health care and money is going to this pathetic program to make some climate idiot feel better.

  3. Are they also modeling the increase in carbon emissions and fresh water usage that “sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)” will demand?

  4. Hopefully they can graph cow farts proportionally to meat eaters vs. vegetarians.

    (Put palm slap to head emoji here)

  5. Kind of reminds me of the “Chicken Little” “THE SKY IS FALLING!” fable. Someone comes up with a hypothesis–others mimic it, leading still more to believe it is true–until it becomes an “accepted fact.”

    Alarmists don’t consider the larger picture. Just this morning, a study showed that “if the State of Minnesota were to shut down all of the coal fired power plants–the improvement in air quality would only improve by .016% by 2050.” That’s LESS THAN 2/100 OF 1%! What they DIDN’T factor in was that homeowners would go back to heating with firewood–creating a NET INCREASE in air pollution.

    As another commenter mentioned, nobody considers the collateral damage these single-minded proposers cause–eliminating any perceived gains. In this case, the water damage, and the need to collect and distribute SAF by vehicle probably outweigh any gains.

    And they wonder why they aren’t taken seriously…………..

  6. By the way, this approach of “carbon emissions” already adopted by many as something bad needs to be addressed. Thankfully, many scientists are now coming to show what is going on regarding “carbon emissions”. In short, plants need CO2. CO2 is good for the plants. Makes it grow in abundance. The agenda of “CO2 is bad for us” is a fallacy. On top of that it’s becoming popular with this nonsense of “sustainable” this “sustainable” that. “Fossil fuel” it’s another subject that few really understand the implications related to our life. For those interested in getting to know a guy that shows what many don’t even know, his name is Alex Epstein. The name does not help much LOL. But, the guy is really on to something good about “fossil fuel”.
    Boeing working on software with all those different factors modeling projections? I have to laugh about it. Tell me one model that has predicted anything involving so many different variables that was accurate? None! This is absurd! Another one to be exact. Delusion, illusion is taking over people’s minds. Especially the young ones. Another waste of money to say the least and how sad it is to see a “lost generation” taking over believing in such fallacies.

    • Well, why don’t these “carbon neutral” scientists address the largest contributor to atmospheric co2?
      Addressing the largest contributor FIRST would have the fastest and largest impact on the problem.
      Spending their time on a 1% of a 2% sources is not what the crisis requires in order to be a success.
      Science needs to go after the 98% contributor to atmospheric co2 if we are to save the planet.
      We need to save the planet by stopping the co2 release by nature into nature.
      That is the only hope we have to control co2.

    • I still urge the editors to insert “Trigger Warnings” for these stories, so the faithful readers and commenters can receive proper warning that their limited grasp of science is about to be challenged, and perhaps they would be more comfortable reading a different story, or simply reading up on some of the basics. I’m tired this evening, so instead of rebutting in a new way about the fact that plants like CO2, or that more CO2 is good, I’m just going to copy and paste my comment from a few weeks back, it’s addressing the same misunderstanding of physics, biology and atmospheric sciences. Again, for those above, please feel free to respond with more questions and I’m happy to explain in more detail tomorrow.

      Here’s the old comment, it was in response to a gentleman who pointed out that back in the olden days (the Carboniferous era), there was more CO2 and more plant life, which must have been good, but in reality more CO2 doesn’t equal more good:

      So I think the important consideration is how the range of values for a given variable affects an outcome. CO2 is no doubt a strong regulator of life.

      For instance if you were to find yourself in an airtight, pressurized vehicle, say a Grumman Lunar Module, and the breathing rate was higher than expected because there are three of you instead of two, then a predictable outcome would be that the device that is designed to remove the CO2 from your Grumman would be not be able to keep up and eventually you would die because too much CO2 is a strong regulator of life.

      Of course the opposite is also true, if you’re a plant alone in that little Grumman module, and there aren’t any producers of CO2, and that little scrubber gets rid of it all, then the plant will die because CO2 is a strong regulator of life.

      The key question is what is the range of values that allow life to continue, too high and the humans die, too low and the plants die. On our planet we live in a place where the range of values for the trace gas known as CO2 allows for plants to live, but isn’t so high that we don’t live.

      Now it turns out that the range of values for CO2 needed for plant life is a fairly wide range, and indeed plants can exist at 300ppm or 3000ppm. So indeed while it is a strong regulator of life, that range is so great that it really isn’t a relevant variable for plant life. Instead CO2’s role in atmospheric temperature turns out to be a ‘far more important’ variable.

      When you referenced the Carboniferous, the increased CO2 levels, while still well in the trace gas category back then, aren’t responsible for the increased plant life just because plants use CO2 for photosynthesis. Converting CO2 into carbohydrates is one part of it. But another, perhaps even bigger driver is that the higher CO2 levels resulted in a much warmer planet because the molecular shape of a carbon atom attached to two oxygen atoms results in a vibration when photons with a wavelength in the 15 micron range are present. In reality the molecule gets excited at several different wavelengths, but we consider the 15 micron range of the infrared to be important because when the earth emits radiation, it’s mostly in the infrared, and 15 microns is the wavelength where the stronger greenhouse gas known as H2O doesn’t absorb photons, so CO2 is then the main gas responsible for preventing those particular photons from escaping into space (black body radiation, mie scattering are a few different things to read about if you’re interested) and if they don’t escape into space, they stay in the atmosphere causing the more of the molecules they hit to vibrate, and an increase in vibration of molecules is the definition of higher temperature, so it gets warmer. That warmer planet meant that at higher latitudes there were warmer conditions that allowed what we today consider to be tropical to mid-latitude flora and fauna to flourish.

      So the combination of increased CO2 as a food source to drive photosynthesis, and as a way to convert infrared photos emitted from earth and the atmosphere to be converted into vibrating atmospheric molecules lead to the increased plant life during the Carboniferous.

      But as mentioned earlier, the levels for photosynthesis aren’t that important, because the range of that variable can be large and still support life. But the range for CO2 is a strong regulator of temperature is important because, well, we don’t want to live on Venus where CO2 isn’t a trace gas.

      So quick summary, range of CO2 levels for happy photosynthesis is large. Range of CO2 for happy temperatures is not as large. And again, this is from my perspective, if you want to lose the state of Florida to a permanent flood because your range of happy temperatures is higher, than that’s a different discussion. Me, I like the idea of keeping Florida, and the swamps of Louisiana, so I opt to keep the ice locked up on the ice sheets rather than covering those states in liquid form.

      It’s been fun, glad I could help explain things. I’m happy to keep learning if you’re so inclined.

      • I do have one question. I’m not disputing your synopsis, but if the level of CO2 back then was more influential toward warming the atmosphere than encouraging plant growth, what happened to break the cycle? Why didn’t we have a runaway cycle where the CO2 level continued to increase and cause more atmospheric warming? Something else had to happen to absorb the excess CO2 and bring Earth back toward the next Ice Age.

  7. As a youth, I vividly remember standing on the corner of Broadway and 2nd Street in Los Angeles in 1959, feeling the discomfort of smog in my teary eyes. That experience has stayed with me, shaping my strong belief in sustainability solutions. Over the years, the introduction of cleaner-burning fuels, advancements in vehicle technology, and the implementation of pollution control devices have significantly improved the quality of the air we breathe. I agree that by embracing new technologies, exploring alternative fuels, and other disciplines, the aviation industry can make a difference in reducing its environmental impact. Go Lakers!

    • When I moved to Houston, Texas, in the late 1960s, it had a similar problem to LA. At certain times of the year we would have terrible smog and ozone warnings that would make your eyes water. Even in oil worshiping Texas, we realized that was not good, and with a lot of effort and many billion dollars later, we have not had any days like that in several years. That, in spite of the fact that Houston now three times the population and probably as many more vehicles on the roads. Humans can solve most of our problems if we share a common interest and are suitably motivated. Sorry, Raf, I can’t cheer for the Lakers. Gotta go with the Nuggets! 😉

    • I go back to Culver City, 1954. It was unreal. Made India and Mexico City look good. Eyes burned and teared horribly and was so hard to breath, hurt with each breath. A never forget situation. L.A. has done a great job of cleaning up the air……although not much else good.

  8. Humans exhale CO2. Plants consume CO2. CO2 is a pollutant? Is this a hoax? By the way, from my experience, Boeing not particularly good at software development.

  9. I am definitely not a proponent of sustainable fuels for aviation, but I will agree that SAF makes a whole lot more sense than either switching to hydrogen or trying to run airliners on batteries. After all, at least the infrastructure currently in place for conventional jet fuels can be used for SAF. The switch to hydrogen would require massive investments in all new infrastructure as well as redesign of fuel tanks and engines on the aircraft. And batteries? Fugetabout it! Batteries are struggling to power light planes, let alone something with two engines and more than six seats. Maybe we could get the farmers currently growing corn for ethanol (another dumb boondoggle) to switch to soybeans or some other oily crop. That way no new land needs to be plowed up.

  10. Everyone seems to have their favorite solution to “sustainability”. What will it be next week? Destroying all the gas emitting sheep and cattle to help clean the air? It would help, but are ready to become vegetarians to save the planet?