From: Mackinnon Lawrence, Matter Network, More from this Affiliate
Published October 25, 2011 03:27 PM

In Europe, Aviation Biofuels Reach the Runway

Ahead of the latest round of climate change talks to be held in Durban, South Africa later this year, most countries, with the exception of European Union member states, Australia, and few others, have failed to advance national initiatives to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Despite broad-based agreement on the need for a post-Kyoto international agreement on climate change, a constellation of forces, including the so-called Climategate affair of 2009 and persistent economic uncertainty, have led to a shattering of international consensus. Earlier this year, both EU and United States negotiators said that a new legally binding deal emerging this year in Durban is not realistically possible.


While ambitious, multilateral initiatives have stalled, though, industry-specific regimes are moving forward and could accelerate the commercialization of carbon-neutral technologies. One of those industries is aviation, where efforts to scale-up advanced biofuels production illustrates this new reality.

Commercial airlines represent only 2 percent of global GHG emissions. But the airlines have embarked on a steady campaign to stabilize emissions with carbon-neutral growth by 2020, and to reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2050. In an industry where, according to the IEA, CO2 emissions are estimated to increase 3.1 percent per year over the next 40 years, resulting in a 300 percent increase in emissions by 2050, this would be no small feat.

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