GA Sets Carbon-Emissions Targets

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With an international U.N. climate-change summit coming up in Copenhagen next month, a group of business aviation associations this week set targets to achieve carbon-neutral growth by 2020 and improve fuel efficiency an average of 2 percent per year through 2020. They also said that by 2050 they aim to produce half as much carbon waste as in 2005. "These aggressive targets are largely based on developments and advancements in four areas: technology, infrastructure and operational improvements, alternative fuels, and market-based measures," the groups said in a news release. Meanwhile, at a conference in France last week, Cessna CEO Jack Pelton said the aviation industry needs governmental help to ensure continued improvement in fuel efficiency. Otherwise, he said, "We risk damaging the growth and vitality of the aviation industry, one of the most dynamic, forward-looking and innovative sectors in the world, and an essential part of both the world's transportation system and the global economy."

GAMA President Pete Bunce took a similar stand, while signing on to the ambitious emissions targets. "Business aviation manufacturers and operators will put forth a sustained effort to meet these targets, but a strong partnership between industry and government is also absolutely necessary to achieve these goals," he said. "We look forward to working hand-in-hand with all stakeholders to meet this critical global challenge of emissions reduction even as we grow to meet expanding demand for transportation." Business aviation contributes about .04 percent of global manmade carbon emissions, and aviation fuel efficiency has improved about 40 percent in the last 40 years. Besides GAMA and NBAA, about a dozen other business-aviation advocacy groups from around the world signed on to the letter (PDF). Also, KLM said this week it flew a passenger flight using a biofuel mixture for the first time. The fuel was 50 percent traditional kerosene and 50 percent biofuel running in one engine of a Boeing 747. The fuel was derived from camelina, a weed that is easy to grow with minimal management, and which can thrive on marginal lands unsuitable for farming.