Airlines to cut emissions in half by 2050?

The Guardian is running a travel article today about the airlines' new agreement to cut carbon emissions by 50% before 2050. I believe this is greenwash of the worst sort.

Jet streams - photo by alex4981

Apparently, Willie Walsh of British Airways is about to present a plan to move the airline industry, that is airlines, airports, and aircraft companies, to cut emissions to 50% of 2005 levels in 41 years' time. These proposals are to be presented to the United Nations tomorrow. Basically, the suggestions are:

  • To reduce net carbon dioxide emissions by 50% by 2050, compared with 2005 levels
  • To make all industry growth carbon-neutral by 2020
  • To cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5% per year over the next decade
  • To submit plans for joining a global carbon trading scheme to the UN by November 2010

These suggestions go further than any specific country's plans for reducing carbon emissions right now, which is a good thing. However, there are a few questions around this:

  • With the lack of success from the Kyoto agreements, what's to stop this from falling by the way side?
  • What's the economic incentive for businesses to actually try to reach this?
  • Why would it take a massive 41 years to do this?

It seems the massive time span is to avoid having any new and harsh limits imposed in the short term. Also, by 2050 many scientists believe it will be far too late to actually save our climate.



What do you think? Will this actually work to help the environment or is it a ploy to look like the air travel industry thinks green?

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Last updated by Jack on 22 September, 2009 in Travel.

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