Airline industry unites to tackle climate change

Aircraft and engine manufacturers, airports, airline bodies and airlines have joined together to sign a declaration outlining their commitment to tackling climate change .

The declaration was signed during the Aviation and Environment Summit, which is currently underway in Geneva. Those that have signed up to the declaration do solemnly swear that they are “committed to a pathway to carbon-neutral growth” and “aspire to a carbon-free future”.

These are lofty ambitions, particularly the bit about the airline industry being completely carbon-free in the future. Greenpeace chief scientist Doug Parr recently penned a Feedback piece in Airline Business outlining his concerns about biofuels, saying there was not enough arable land on the planet to grow the necessary crops.

So what’s the answer? How will airlines stop emitting carbon dioxide in the future? Just over a year ago I wrote a piece for Flight International following an interview I did with a NASA scientist, who claimed aircraft could be powered using a type of biofuel derived from saltwater plants grown in the desert.

I’m not quite sure how this plan has developed – I should probably follow it up – but maybe, just maybe a carbon-free future isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. Who knows? It would take a much more scientific brain than mine to work that one out.

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