Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Going green for green

Much as taken place in this dynamic and wonderfully exciting industry while I have been abscent. Copenhagen Business School hosted Airways 07, our annual aviation conference held by the Center for Tourism and Culture Management, which I hope to comment on in the near future. Also, I finally managed to get some results from my survey which was mailed to a large number of airlines worldwide. When I finished writing a summary I intend to post some results for all to see here as well. Of course, a few highlights spring to mind when I think about the past few weeks, so I will pick those that I find intriguing.

At the Star Alliance 10th anniversary right here in Copenhagen it was announced that the organisation has created a transport and marketing partnership with UNESCO-MAB, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. One of the goals is to provide a more forceful and unified communication strategy to defend the industry's position. The environment is an issue close to my heart and in my family, and one cannot deny that aviation does have a negative impact on the environment, as does every other human activity, however aviation has recently come under increasing environmental pressure. Aviation does contribute a small, but growing CO2 amount, as well as, ozone, methane, and cirrus and contrail clouds. Aviation produces roughly 2% of global CO2, 1.6% of green house gases, and about 3% of warming if one considers both CO2 and non-CO2 impacts. If business-as-normal then this will grow to about 5% by 2050.

No doubt this is important when policy makers are discussing ways in which to reduce emmissions, however when one studies the numbers at a macro level then the topic becomes less one-sided. Our power-stations are producing a little more than 21% green house gasses (GHG), land-use and bio-mass burning 10%, agriculture 12.5%, residential 10.3%, and the list continues. Aviation is only a miniscule part of the problem, yet it is getting so much attention. I have yet to see a politician stand up and propose a cap or tax on heating a house, driving an inefficient car, research improved agricultural processes. These policies are not as visible as that orange colored plane we see from the highway, nor are they as popular with constituents. Those other policies may actually force us to change our lifestyles or habits, while an aviation scheme is seen as limiting those that can afford it, yet it is only targeting 2% of the world's CO2.

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