Airplane Emissions Cause Concern In Europe

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In Europe, where worry over climate change due to industrial pollution is widespread, the emissions emanating from aircraft have again attracted attention. A recent study found that with the amount of air travel in the United Kingdom expected to double over the next 25 years, it will be impossible for the country to meet its goal of cutting carbon emissions 60 percent by 2050. "The failure of all governments to think about [emissions from] international aviation and shipping has led to a serious underestimation of the actions necessary," says researcher Simon Shackley, of Manchester University. All other sources in the country would have to reduce carbon emissions to zero in order to meet the goal while allowing aviation to expand, researchers said. The European Union's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme may begin to target aviation emissions as soon as 2008, the Environment News Service reported last week. The scheme would allot to the airlines a certain emissions allowance. They could then choose to meet that allowance either by cutting emissions or buying up extra allowances from others. But not all aircraft are perceived to be eco-threats. In Italy last week, a robotic blimp was launched bearing technical instruments to help scientists gather information about air pollution. The blimp is about 35 feet long and powered by two emissions-free electric motors.