A trade group representing the airlines of the world set a goal Monday of developing a “zero-emissions” airplane within 50 years, The Seattle Times reports.
But Boeing wants a more near-term and industrywide approach – not one focused solely on airplane technology that is too far off.
“Fifty years is a long time,” said Mike Cave, vice president of business strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, at the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association. He said the industry should push to become “carbon neutral” with more efficient engines and aerodynamic technology, improved air-trafficcontrol systems, better ground taxiing procedures and – to offset any remaining emissions – a global carbon-emissions trading system.
By 2011, the European Union plans to require airlines to join the region’s emissions-trading system that would cap carriers’ output of carbon dioxide and other pollutants and force them to buy credits if they went over the limit.
Airlines have been discussing different ways they can cut emissions for some time now.
One approach is passing the carbon cost on to passengers in the form of voluntary carbon offset purchases. Delta recently became the first U.S. airline to offer consumers a similar option.
British Airways has taken some heat for not putting enough marketing muscle behind its voluntary program.
The city of Denver is considering kiosks at DIA where travelers can buy carbon offsets.
Richard Branson recently said the airline industry can reduce its CO2 emissions by about 25 percent over the next two years.