It’s worth remembering as the world leaders arrive in Glasgow for COP26 that they have flown here which is what we’re talking about here in Holidos and Dont’s of Sustainable Air Travel.
And so is all the virtue signalling and grandstanding over air travel just a distraction from the question we should be asking…
Why are governments not acting to clean up our skies and instead blaming it on our air carriers?
And why is more not being done to improve the operational aspects around airports.
So that we can improve queuing, runway congestion and airplanes hovering around airports because they cannot land?
Scapegoating a sector which knows better than anyone that we need to transition to zero carbon flying is not healthy.
Nor should we ignore the fact that the skies are vital arteries in feeding the very developing world which world leaders claim to be their every waking concern.
Think about it?
Air travel is the catalyst for improving the livelihoods of families and the foreign exchange earnings of many developing states and developing countries.
All of which came out at WTM, the World Travel Market conference which kicked off in London today…
An important counterpoint to what is going on a couple of hundred of miles up here in Glasgow.
Trust the science
Well, as we’ve become used to hearing over these last couple of years… let’s trust the science.
The latest research reveals that international aviation is responsible for 3.5% of anthropogenic climate forcing, less than Russia more than Japan.
In March 2020, the respected German consultancy Roland Berger forecast that if other industries decarbonise in line with current projections, aviation could account for up to 24% of global emissions by 2050.
Unless there is a significant technological shift.
There is an ongoing debate about carbon offsetting and Sustainable Aviation Fuel from biofuels and waste.
And these are favoured solutions because they facilitate business as usual and do not require a technological shift.
In January, the Fuelling Flight Project, which includes easyJet, IAG, Air France and KLM, pointed out the ‘risk of massive capital investments in things that increase emissions compared to fossil fuels and/or that become stranded assets.’
They called for higher sustainability requirements to be set by the European Commission.
And so to the options.
Electric is the buzzword and the airline industry is actively working on battery-powered electric flights.
But equally hydrogen has its benefits.
Hydrogen can fuel aircraft in two ways.
It can be burnt in an engine or used in a fuel cell that combines hydrogen and oxygen.
And that will produce electricity, heat, and water or to make drop-in synthetic sustainable aviation fuels (synfuels).
Power-to-liquid fuels (PtL) or synfuels are drop-in replacements for fossil-based kerosene and require no significant aircraft or engine changes.
Down to Zero
In September, Airbus revealed three concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft which could be flying by 2035.
So as we focus on climate change in Glasgow and Travel inevitably takes a kicking…
Lets dance! I’ve waltzed with Judy Murray, partied with Brian Lara, manned the barricades with Civil Rights leader Myrlie Evers and even unmasked The Donald as a mariachi fan. Join me (and my bandana) on a madcap tour of the world with the people who make it all possible, our wonderful travel providers.
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