Thursday, March 27, 2008

Carbon neutrality in the skies

After reading the following in the Singapore Airlines magazine, I had to think some more about what was happening each moment I sat happily cruising around the world:

"Flying in an A380, you are personally creating less carbon dioxide
than you would do driving the average family car. You will also be
using less fuel, at around 2.9litre per passenger per 100km."**

Turns out that I'm not nearly the first to post about my carbon footprint while cruising around the world -- not surprising. These folks have a few articles about the upcoming super jumbo jets that are actually designed to be more fuel-efficient per passenger than any other passenger planes.

Says one carbon-neutral flying blogger: "So, here's one way to reduce your carbon footprint - once it comes along insist on flying with the A380."

Unfortunately, as the Telegraph points out, because of how the jet is configured (with full onboard hotel-suites in place of multiple rows of passengers), the per-passenger footprint goes down. EDIT: The per-passenger footprint goes up; I meant the efficiency goes down! (thanks SP) If we could measure on a per-square-foot scale (which might actually equal one economy class seat!), the numbers might make sense again.

The good news is that Airbus and Boeing aren't the only ones thinking about the impact of cruising through the friendly skies: Virgin Atlantic recently flew a 747-400 jumbo jet on (20%) biofuels. This, in conjunction with Richard Branson's "Virgin Earth Challenge," a $25 million prize (any chance we can get that in Pounds or Euros, Dick?) for removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

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Oh, and folks, let's just put the Gossamer Albatross (pic below) out of our heads for the moment, cause it's seriously depressing for someone like me who would actually love the chance to cross an ocean under my own leg power.


** Can anyone point me towards a resource to compare this 2.9L/passenger/100km figure to other modes of transportation?