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Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 15:49 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 15:49 | SYDNEY

Climate change: More low-hanging fruit

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14 January 2008 17:31

Back in December I noted University of Queensland economist John Quiggin’s argument that adjusting our economies to cope with climate change need not be too painful because there is so much ‘low-hanging fruit’; that is, relatively easy ways we can reduce carbon emissions without changing our lifestyles. I’m not convinced Quiggin is right, but here are two examples of what he might have in mind.  

  1. US parcel service UPS claims it could save 3 million gallons of fuel a year with navigation software that reduces the number of left turns made by its fleet of delivery trucks (in the US, left turns go across traffic, meaning the trucks have to idle while they wait for a gap). Imagine the savings if every car had such software?
  2. Airbus announced it wants aviation authorities to certify its new A350 so that it can fly up to 350 minutes from any airport. For safety reasons, twin-engined passenger jets are normally forced to fly much closer to en route airports, but engine reliability improvements mean the A350 may be able to fly more direct routes, saving fuel.

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