Friday, 27 April 2007

Branson plans trials of 'green' fuelled passenger plane

It seems like once again Richard Branson seems to be the only one concerned with the notion of aviation pollution. Over the recent years he has put forward the argument that it is not the just the typical forms of transport as cars, buses and boats that emit these harmful carbon emissions but also air planes too.

Aviation is responsible for 2.6% of carbon emissions in the EU, but the effect of these greenhouse gases on the climate is likely to be much greater, because they are produced high in the atmosphere.

Sir Richard, who has already announced that his Virgin Trains will be switching from diesel power to biodiesel by 2009, said Virgin Atlantic had teamed up with Boeing, the engine maker GE Aviation and his new venture, Virgin Fuels, to work on ways to reduce greenhouse emissions from flights.

A total of 15 new planes going by the name of the Dream Line 787 will be constructed over the battle for the future of air travel as it it is set to double over the next 20 years.

Although Sir Richard has argued that biofuels are a greener alternative to traditional jet fuels because they reduce the overall greenhouse emissions that cause climate change, many environmentalists claim production is energy intensive and that growing the necessary crops could lead to deforestation in some areas.

Even though this may occur, it is still a step to at least cutting the amount of CO2 emissions and controlling the effects of global warming.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Brown and Cameron battle over green air travel

In a bid to get the green vote the two opposition leaders engaged in a battle to over the topic of aviation pollution.
Labour challenged the Tories over their plans to take unilateral UK action on carbon emissions from aviation by introducing a system of personal air mile allowances for travellers.

The Tories said Mr Brown was simply recycling policies he had first announced in a speech in March 1995.”
They also cited a cabinet policy review paper published in January setting out the critical importance of cutting aviation emissions. The paper warned: "On current trends aviation would be equivalent to 26% to 44% of the UK's emission target by 2050. Growth in air travel is greatest amongst the better off - who fly more often," the paper states.

So if this is true, then why isn’t more being done about the situation? Should passengers pay a heavier duty for polluting our skies and contributing greatly to global warming?

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Branson urges cooperation on climate change

It seems like Richard Branson seems to be the only fore front figure caring about the problems arising with global warming and aircraft pollution, which is more than I can say for the UK goverment.

In an article written in the Guardian on 27 Septemeber 2006 it states:

Sir Richard Branson today called on the global aviation industry to work together to tackle the growing issue of climate change and outlined plans for a "starting grid" on runways to reduce fuel use.

The billionaire businessman, who last week pledged US$3bn dollars towards renewable energy initiatives, said if airlines, airports, air traffic controllers and governments worked together, up to 25% of the world's aviation carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could be cut.

He has written to other airlines, engine manufacturers and airport operators urging them to support a cross industry forum that will help deliver practical ways of tackling global warming.

Glad to see someone is taking an interest. It's only the world at stake here.

EU Proposes CO2 Emission Quotas For Airlines

In December 2006, The European Commission proposed to set carbon dioxide emission quotas for airlines from 2011, a stance already met with hostility by the aviation industry and environmentalists. The proposal, which still has to be adopted by EU member states and the European Parliament, would see emissions rules imposed from 2011 on intra-European flights and from 2012 for flights originating outside the bloc.

It would cover both EU and foreign aircraft operators and the quotas would be based on emission levels from last year.

The quotas would be part of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme. That would allow airlines to sell surplus quotas if they cut back emissions far enough or would be forced to buy additional allowances if they produce too many.

EU planes account for about half the industry's carbon dioxide emissions world-wide.

But when will all these proposals take place. It just seems like a whole bunch of hopless promises.

A step closer for biofuels for planes

I came across this website which was explaining that in the US there has been developemnts in using biofuel to operate airplanes.

A new biofuels technology developed by North Carolina State University engineers has the potential to turn virtually any lipidic compound—e.g., vegetable oils, oils from animal fat and oils from algae—into aviation fuel or other high-value fuels.

The technology, called Centia, which is derived from “crudus potentia,” or “green power” in Latin integrates a sequence of three thermocatalytic-reforming processes that are either extensions of current commercial processes or based on recent laboratory breakthroughs. Centia can also be used to make additives for cold-weather biodiesel fuels and holds the potential to fuel automobiles that currently run on gasoline.

So why isn't anyone spreading joy and spreading the knowledge?

News in Brief

February 16 2007: CO2

At a two-day meeting in the US world leaders reached a new agreement on tackling the issues of climate change. Delegates agreed that developing countries will have to face targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions as well as rich countries.

The meeting in Washington of the G8+5 Climate Change Dialogue group -including China and India also agreed that a Global market should be formed to cap and trade carbon emissions.

February 27 2007: Ryanair boss slams flight tax

The Chancellor Gordon Brown’s air passenger duty was simply “a bloody tax grab” and had nothing to do with the environment, an airline boss claimed. Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary told the Parliamentary Monitor everyone has been “sucked in” by the duty because they thought it was an environment issue.

Thursday 8 March 2007

Expedia plans carbon move

Expedia unveiled plans for the first global carbon offset programme for corporate travel. The travel website was teamed up with a US company to offer businesses the ability to calculate the amount of CO2 emitted from employee travel and buy the correspondin amount of carbon offsets. Expedia says its own travel programme will be carbon neutral by the end of this year.


Friends of the Earth today demanded the EU cuts domestic emissions of greenhouse gases by 30 percent by 2020. The EU Spring Council in Brussels is due to set targets for Europe’s energy future at a series of meetings.

'Binding' carbon targets proposed

Tuesday 13 March 2007

Britain could become the first country to set legally binding carbon reduction targets under plans unveiled by Environment Secretary David Miliband.

The draft Climate Change Bill calls for an independent panel to set ministers a "carbon budget" every five years, in a bid to cut emissions by 60% by 2050.

If they miss the figure, future governments could be taken to court.

The Tories and Lib Dems welcomed the proposals, but said carbon budgets should be set annually.

A full Climate Change Bill is set to be published in the autumn.

At the weekend, the Conservatives unveiled environmental proposals including VAT or fuel duty on domestic flights.

But Mr Miliband said more focus was needed on cutting carbon emissions from homes, citing government plans to make all new houses carbon-neutral by 2016 and encourage the use of energy-efficient light bulbs.

The Liberal Democrats said they broadly supported the aims of the climate change bill but urged closer monitoring of a government's green progress.

The Protocol with the missing element.

The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Countries that ratify this protocol commit to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases, or engage in emissions trading if they maintain or increase emissions of these gases.

The Kyoto Protocol now covers more than 160 countries globally and over 55% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The objective is the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

Many of the world's biggest economies have are members of this agreement seeing as they are the biggest polluters, and the UK being one of.

However to my dismay I have discovered that carbon dioxide emitted by aircraft on international flights are excluded from the national targets for the kyoto agreement.

When burnt, aircraft fuel is coverted into CO2 and H2O. So isn't this a cause for concern? Why has avaition pollution been pushed aside? I am aware that other forms of transport emitt dangerous emissions and are probably more easy to target as we have sen with introduction of congestion charging. But why has such a major element to the cause of global warming not even addressed. As more and more people are starting to jet around the world isnt it our duty to have some sort of respect to the condition of the Earth, seeing as we are the ones living on it and what about the future generations?!!