Aviation industry tries to go green

From an emissions-reducing model jet that looks like something from a sci-fi movie to electric aircraft and sustainable fuel, the aviation industry is ramping up efforts to go green as consumer pressure grows.

In an era when teen climate activist Greta Thunberg opts to travel on an eco-friendly boat and "flight-shaming" is all the rage in her native Sweden, air travel's reputation has never looked as dire.

Aviation accounts for three percent of climate-damaging carbon emissions globally, according to the European Environment Agency, and the world is experiencing record heatwaves, wildfires and storm surges made worse by rising seas.

"Sustainability" was the buzzword last week in Singapore at Asia's biggest air show—which was powered by solar panels—with manufacturers and airlines trying to outdo one another on vows to become more sustainable.

Some environmentalists however have criticised such pledges as "greenwash", PR stunts that will do little to mitigate the damage caused by the vast quantities of jet fuel burnt every year.

"Aviation is under significant pressure to improve its sustainability image," Paul Stein, chief technology officer for engine maker Rolls-Royce, told AFP.

Airlines are "working with us to find pathways to increase the availability of sustainable fuels, look at how electrification can impact them... and also looking to more and more efficient engines and airframes".

Cutting emissions

The aviation industry has pledged to reduce its net carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050 compared with 2005 levels, and the British sector went further this month with a vow to achieve net zero emissions by the same date.

At the Singapore Airshow, European plane maker Airbus...

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