Air transport performs many important functions in modern societies. Aviation facilitates economic growth and cultural exchanges and the industry directly provides employment in many regions. However, aviation also contributes to global climate change, and its contribution is increasing. While the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions fell by 3% from 1990 to 2002, carbon dioxide emissions alone from international aviation of the 25 Member States of the European Union have increased by 60%. Even though there have been significant improvements to aircraft technology and operational efficiency this has not been enough to neutralise the effect of increased traffic. Without due policy intervention, the growth in emissions is expected to continue in the coming decades.