"While the facts say otherwise, it is clear that the perception is there that we airlines are a major contributor to greenhouse gases," Northwest Airlines CEO Doug Steenland said at Monday's meeting. "Absent new technology, there is a limit to how much we can reduce emissions and continue to serve our customers."
In a panel discussion, Wolfgang Mayrhuber, CEO for German carrier Lufthansa, said that weighing the total carbon emissions from the travel alternatives for a journey from Hamburg to Frankfurt, "from an ecological point of view, you should not take the train. You should fly."
Mayrhuber was appointed Monday to head an IATA task force on environmental issues.
Information from Bloomberg News reporter Susanna Ray is included in this report.
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Goal to replace 6 percent of jet fuel by 2020
On a New York-to-Denver flight, a commercial jet would generate 840 to 1,660 pounds of carbon dioxide per passenger. That's about what a typical driver generates with an SUV in a month.