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Virgin Atlantic Sustainable Development Global Warming

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Introduction

Executive Summary This report has identified global warming as a negative effect upon the environment. The causes and effects of this problem have been stated. It has been predicted that if the temperatures continue to climb at its current rate then it will eventually lead to serious and potentially disastrous consequences for the ecosystem. The report has then introduced Virgin Atlantic as the second largest long haul airline in the UK and the third largest European carrier over the North Atlantic. The industry in which Virgin Atlantic operate has then been examined to show the contribution it is making towards global warming. The aviation industries share in the blame for global warming is growing and is causing increasing reasons for concern. The steps taken by Virgin Atlantic to make improvements to its sustainable business model in relation to global warming have then been shown. Conclusions have been drawn on these findings with recommendations made as to how Virgin Atlantic and the aviation industry can reduce its environmental impact further. The entire aviation community suffers from a lack of technological advances to help improve their impact on the environment. Recommendations are as follows: * The aviation industry isn't afforded the luxury of hydrogen engines or solar power as they both provide an unrealistic alternative to kerosene fuel. * An operational method to cut down on aircraft emissions would be to streamline air-traffic control. * Given the restrictions the aviation industry have in terms of technical and operating solutions, taxes would remain the only practical way to reduce carbon emissions. * Governments should provide more resources into the research of improved energy efficiency and find new alternatives to fossil fuel. Investigations into developing a cheap, low-emitting source of energy for aviation are vital in making the industry sustainable. * Rapidly growing trees could be planted on a mass scale. Uninhabited areas of the ocean could be fertilised with minerals so that carbon eating plants can flourish. ...read more.

Middle

Within transport, aviation accounts for about 13%. Its contribution to total man-made emissions worldwide is said to be around 3%." IPCC (1999) It is not merely the percentage contribution of the aviation industry to the world's carbon dioxide emissions that causes concern, but also the manner in its production. As aircraft travel at high altitudes, the emissions are released into more sensitive parts of the earth's atmosphere and thus have a greater impact. According to the IPCC, the definite impact of the aviation industry on global warming can be judged as four times that of their carbon dioxide emissions, due to the nature of their production. (Green Travel 2006) 3.3 Attempts to Reduce Impact As one of the major players in the aviation industry, Virgin Atlantic have taken it upon themselves to be seen as the leading light in making the industry more environmentally friendly. As part of the companies vision for sustainable aviation, Virgin Atlantic have begun to implement more efficient methods of air travel around some of the world's largest airports. These changes are aimed to cut the amount of fuel used by the aircraft; thus improving the quality of the air and reducing the level of carbon dioxide emissions. "We need to accelerate the pace at which we reduce aviation's impact on the environment. We cannot ignore that aviation does create environmental problems at around 2% of global CO2 emissions, although equally, it produces significant economic and social benefits being 8% of the world's GDP." Sir Richard Branson (2006) Forum for the Future is the leading sustainable development charity in the UK. They work alongside companies to find ways of creating an environmentally friendly way of improving how they go about their business. They help identify opportunities and then implement them within the companies overall strategy for sustainable development. Virgin Atlantic became the first airline to join the scheme following its plan to introduce more carbon friendly methods of air travel. ...read more.

Conclusion

Boeing attempted to develop a radical new plane design which incorporated a blended wing-body, providing a more aerodynamic and fuel efficient aircraft. This proved to be unsuccessful as it received a negative reaction from passengers as it involved the seating arrangement to be like a small amphitheatre. Until a new technology is created, the industry is limited in what it can actually do to make it a more sustainable operation. An operational method to cut down on aircraft emissions would be to streamline air-traffic control. European skies currently operate under 35 national bodies and according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), putting European air-traffic control under one organisation would cut emissions by up to 12%. Given the restrictions the aviation industry have in terms of technical and operating solutions, introducing taxes would remain the only practical way to reduce carbon emissions. This would involve countries imposing a carbon tax which would in turn increase the cost of fossil fuel in relation to its levels of carbon. It would encourage carbon emitters to act quicker in reducing their emissions and would promote the conservation of fossil fuels. The aviation industry would argue that there is no current method of preventing carbon emissions from aircraft but it would encourage them to follow the example of Virgin Atlantic in reducing emissions from other sources. The funds generated from these taxes would provide governments with the necessary resources to invest in other ways of tackling the negative affects of global warming. Governments should provide more resources into the research of improved energy efficiency and find new alternatives to fossil fuel. Investigations into developing a cheap, low-emitting source of energy for aviation are vital in making the industry sustainable. Rapidly growing trees could be planted on a mass scale in areas that are now suitable to support them due to the changes in the climate. Using the increasing sea levels as an example, uninhabited areas of the ocean could be fertilised with minerals so that carbon eating plants can flourish. ...read more.

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