I was incredulous last week when someone told me about a Boeing presentation they went to in Asia, where the airline played down the threat climate change poses to their industry, citing the reliance of the world economy on air freight and so on. Boeing after all make a big play about their fuel efficient Dreamliner 787's which Branson just bought 15 of.
But actually it does seem that the US air industry are on a different flight plan to the rest of us.
- Europe is including aviation emissions in the 2011 emissions trading scheme; the US airlines threatened to sue
- in a report in last weeks FT "Sabre Airline Solutions, an airlines services consultancy, asked the leaders of 197 airlines around the world about their views on a range of issues, and found only three out of 62 North American airlines surveyed thought environmental concerns were a significant challenge."
- two factors that are mentioned is that its harder to get around the USA without flying (because...?) and that the US industry is too beleagured by historical woes and fuel prices to do anything (unlike...?)
The European air industry, led by Branson is to launch a campaign in the next few weeks announcing all the action that's been taken. According to a spokeman from Virgin Atlantic: "Where there is a train alternative, customers are taking it. On long haul, customers want to know about offsetting their flights and how we can contribute in other ways."
report here, FT 14.05
Regular readers here will remember that in a BBC World Survey, 2/3 of people in 21 countries blame the US more than other countries for climate change. Whereas 80% of people in the US think it's not particularly any countries fault. There is more to tackling this issue than making a nice movie about it guys. I think Arnie should stage a coup.
Incidentally I hope this means at some point lastminute.com will drop their 'get your five a year' (ie take 5 irresponsible trips a year and screw the cost to the planet, lets party while flying is still cheap) campaign. I'm happy to host anybody's designs for an alternative campaign for a company called 'lastplanet.com' I've been reading a book about the biblical apocalypse and there's actually quite a lot of picturesque imagery in there that might suit...?