|10 May 2007
|WRITTEN QUESTION by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
|Subject: Aircraft condensation trails which no longer only contain water but cause persistent milky veils, possibly due to the presence of barium, aluminium and iron
1. Is the Commission aware that, since 1999, members of the public in Canada and the USA have been complaining about the growing presence in the air of aircraft condensation trails of a new type, which sometimes persist for hours and which spread far more widely than in the past, creating milky veils which are dubbed ‘aerial obscuration’, and that the new type has particularly come to people’s attention because it is so different from the short, pencil-thin white contrails which have been a familiar sight ever since jet engines came into use and which remain visible for 20 minutes at most and can only be produced if steam condenses on dust particles due to low temperatures and high humidity?
2. Is the Commission aware that investigations by these complainants, observations by pilots and statements by government bodies increasingly suggest that what is happening is that aircraft are emitting into dry air small particles consisting of barium, aluminium and iron, a phenomenon which in public debate in America has come to be known as chemtrails?
3. Unlike contrails, chemtrails are not an inevitable by-product of modern aviation. Does the Commission know, therefore, what is the purpose of artificially emitting these Earth-derived substances into the Earth’s atmosphere? Does it help to cause rain, benefit telecommunications or combat climate change?
4. To what extent are aerial obscuration and chemtrails now also being employed in the air over Europe, bearing in mind that many people here too are now convinced that the phenomenon is becoming increasingly common and are becoming concerned about the fact that little is so far known about it and there is no public information on the subject? Who initiates this spraying and how is it funded?
5. Apart from the intended benefits of emitting substances into the air, is the Commission aware of any possible disadvantages it may have for the environment, public health, aviation and TV reception?
6. What is being done to prevent individual European states or businesses from taking measures unilaterally whose crossborder impact other States or citizens’ organisations may regard as undesirable? Is coordination already taking place with regard to this? Is the EU playing a part in it, or does the Commission anticipate a future role, and what are the Commission’s objectives in this connection?
Last updated: 23 May 2007
Answer given by Mr Dimas
on behalf of the Commission
1. The Commission is aware of claims that such trends and phenomena exist. However, the Commission is not aware of any evidence substantiating such claims. The extent to which aircraft condensation trails form and the speed at which they disappear are in the first instance determined by pressure, temperature, and the relative humidity of a given flight level. Fuel and combustion properties and the overall propulsive efficiency may also have an impact. Any changes or trends in the extent to which contrails are reported to remain visible and develop into more widespread clouds may thus be due to factors such as changes in
– meteorological conditions
– traffic volumes
– jet-engine efficiency
2. The Commission is aware of such claims but is not aware of any evidence that particles of barium, aluminium or iron are being emitted, deliberately or not, by aircraft.
3. No. It cannot be precluded that the release of such particles might affect precipitation and climate change, but as indicated above the Commission is not aware of any evidence that such releases take place.
4. The Commission is not aware of any evidence that such methods are being employed in Europe.
5. None of the substances referred to are hazardous per se, but some effects on environment and public health can not be ruled out if large scale releases to the air occurred.
6. As indicated above the Commission is not aware of any evidence suggesting that there is any reason to act.