Clean energy transition is a critical and pressing issue in European islands that are contributing to the global effort to mitigate climate change. The Greek island of Crete is a famous tourist destination, with the majority of visitors arriving and departing by plane. The tourism industry dominates the Cretan economy, accounting for over half of all regional revenue. The current study’s goal is to look at the possibilities of decarbonizing air travel to and from Crete. While other studies have predicted greater levels, air transportation accounts for 10.62 percent of total carbon emissions on the island. This is more than the expected share of carbon emissions from aviation, which accounts for 2-3 percent of global carbon emissions. Improvements in aircraft standards, usage of sustainable aviation fuels, offsetting carbon emissions, and adopting new rules limiting frequent use of air travel are all discussed as technological and non-technology means to decarbonizing aviation. The practicality and consequences of various strategies are discussed, implying that decarbonization will be difficult in the short and medium term. It seems unlikely that sustainable aviation fuels, such as biofuels and electrofuels, will be produced in sufficient quantities and at competitive rates anytime soon. New rules that raise the cost of flying and promote alternative, sustainable modes of transportation will have negative consequences for the island’s tourism economy. On the other hand, decarbonization in other socio-economic sectors in Crete, such as power generation, heat and cooling production, and intra-island transportation, is easier than in air transportation.
Consultant Engineer, 107B, El. Venizelou str., 73132, Chania, Crete, Greece.