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Branson: Airlines Can Cut CO2 Emissions 25% in 2 Years

Even though high fuel prices have cost the Virgin Group and Virgin Atlantic about a billion dollars a year in increased costs because of its trains and planes, Richard Branson prays that fuel prices remain high in order to stir people to take action to address global warming, Grist reports (via MSNBC).

Branson said the airline industry can reduce its CO2 emissions by about 25 percent over the next two years. Branson said he has started towards that goal by towing planes to the runway with an electric tug instead of taxiing planes.

Branson also said that he supports some type of a carbon tax for airlines. “Anything like that that cuts down greenhouse gases I support.”

Earlier this week, Virgin Atlantic pulled out of the UK government’s carbon emission reduction scheme after the air passenger duty was doubled.

Branson said that if there’s an adequate train service covering short-haul routes, people should be going by train, which produces about eight times less CO2 than planes.

“I think it should be government mandated,” Branson said.

In September, Branson announced that Virgin Group will spend three billion dollars in the next 10 years on a variety of projects to combat global warming and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. That announcement followed his investing more than $60 million into Cilion, a company that makes bioethanol from corn.

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