By the numbers: S&P Global Sustainable1 offered some perspective on the amount of fuel burned and corresponding emissions from that type of commercial space launch.
The sustainability intelligence provider said it's roughly akin to...
- One car traveling 1.8 million miles.
- The average travel of 157 cars in the U.S. per year (based on Transportation Department data).
- "A full passenger roundtrip flight in commercial aircraft from London to New York."
Our thought bubble: Axios space reporter Miriam Kramer notes that the number of launches each year is increasing but still relatively low.
- In the future, however — if companies like Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have their way — launches could increase dramatically, she notes. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic envisions 400 flights per year.
- Reckoning with exactly how bad emissions from rocket launches are today could pay off in the future as more launches occur worldwide.
Reality check: Even a major increase in space flight would not create a big emissions source compared to CO2 output from power, industry and other forms of transport, including traditional commercial air travel.
- But it's another CO2-emitting sector at a time when steep cuts are needed to keep Paris Agreement goals within reach.
Of note: Bezos is a major funder of efforts to fight global warming, unveiling the $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund in early 2020 and in November announcing initial grants totaling $791 million across 16 organizations.