A new international oxymoron has been formed, with the members of the Sustainable Aviation consortium promising to effectively decarbonise air travel by the year 2050. The key word in the net-zero plan being net, as the plan is to run the mother of all offsetting schemes rather than pray for any massively radical new plane tech or fuels – or to take the wings off them, put them on bogeys, and roll them along the ground.
It's not entirely about planting trees and hoping for the best, mind, as the goal is to use all of today's many eco solutions of marginal gain to fix-ish the problem of aeroplane pollution, including the use of more efficient engines and planes, fleet upgrades, vaguely more sustainable fuel mixes, better ground and airspace operations, and, of course, planting trees, or a "significant investment in carbon offset" as our leafy friends are otherwise known. Perhaps they could enter the bidding war to buy up Tesla's carbon emission allowance, as Fiat currently does via the carbon credit pooling loophole? They'd have to make a few homologated cars to qualify, but shouldn't be hard for a consortium that includes Rolls Royce and Airbus.
This is all being done under the staggering ambition of achieving net zero carbon emissions across flight by 2050 – by which time passenger numbers are expected to have increased by 70 per cent – despite net emissions from the industry currently standing at 30 million tonnes of CO2 per year today. Everyone gets a special epaulette for their work suit should this get anywhere near happening. [Sustainable Aviation via Sky News]