According to its 2008 Environmental Report, Boeing’s CO2 emissions from its facilities dropped 24 per cent from 2002 to 2007. Boeing also reports that CO2 emissions from its airplanes have dropped 70 per cent since 1968, and that it hopes to reduce CO2 emissions by 15 per cent with every new generation of plane. The company is also researching low-carbon aviation fuels. The fact that the price of jet fuel has jumped 90 per cent in the past year has no doubt provided further impetus for airlines to find better alternatives.
Another impetus is looming regulations. European airlines, for example, will face stiffer CO2 emissions regulations one year earlier than expected. The European Parliament recently surprised already struggling airlines by voting to advance the date to include aviation GHG emissions in the European emissions trading scheme. European airlines now have just 2.5 years to prepare for tough standards: they'll have to reduce emissions 10 per cent from 2004—2006 levels by 2011, and the standard will be raised even higher in 2013. What’s more, the industry will only be given 75 per cent of their allotted emission credits, and will have to bid for the remaining 25 per cent.
Airlines are also looking at other ways to reduce emissions. Apparently, one practical way may be to slow down, adding a few minutes to each flight. According to The Guardian’s “Green Autoblog,” this alone significantly reduces emissions.