Climate Corner - The Great Air Travel Debate.
By Peter D. Krahenbuhl
Thursday, 3rd September 2009
While there seems to be no unified voice for carbon measurement, management and impact reduction in many sectors of the tourism industry, like the hotel and accommodations sector for example, the airline industry continues to be examined under a magnifying glass.

This is arguably due in part to the high visibility and specificity of air travel, and impending international regulation that will affect this sector, whereas there is nothing significant in regulatory sight for hotels (other than perhaps large corporate wide emitters).  Or it is perhaps related to the extremely varied types of accommodations and associated emission sources, whereas the primary impact from air travel is related to fuel consumption. 

Regardless, the airline industry, while being dubbed the "bad boy" of global warming, has already unified and is addressing this issue in voice and action.

We invite you to take a look at the current debate and industry move toward air travel sustainability.  Will behavioral changes alone save the day?  It may help, and it is changing even corporate-related travel, but is not a holistically viable solution because the global economy—and the survival of many tourism destinations—is intimately linked to air travel.  Is hydrogen fuel a bright spot on the horizon?  Not any time soon. 

How about electric flights?  Well, only for model airplanes and light sport aircraft so far, but don't count it out just yet.

What about biofuels?  Are they a viable, sustainable option, or are they just competing with food sources for land and driving up the price of milk?  What are the differences between first, second and third generation biofuels and where do they land on the sustainability scale? 

We're getting warmer here.  Get the scoop as reported by businessgreen.com.  And for a more in depth look at algae, one of the front runners as the ultimate biofuel, you can read more here.

In the meantime, STI continues to support the airline, hotel, tour operator and cruise industries with regard to carbon management, reduction, offsetting and traveler facing solutions. 

We encourage interested companies to contact us in order to learn more and to join our family of leading corporate partners.

Originally published in Sustainable Travel International's Responsible Travel Report 

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