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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The boss of the British airline group Virgin is in the headlines again. Later today Sir Richard Branson will call on the aviation industry to tackle climate change. He says the airlines could cut its carbon dioxide emissions by up to a quarter. From London, Stephen Beard has more.


STEPHEN BEARD: Branson says more efficient use of aircraft would clearly cut carbon emissions. For example, planes sitting on the ground at airports with their engines running sometimes for up to an hour as they wait to take off is highly polluting.

There is a much better way, says Branson:

BRANSON: You are towed by a small tug to the starting grid. Then the pilot would turn on the engines 10 minutes before take-off and then take off. On a global basis we're talking about millions of tons of CO2 saving just on that idea alone.

He also suggests that if Europe adopted a single air traffic control system like the US, it would make more efficient use of European airspace and also curb emissions.

In New York later today, Branson will call for an international aviation forum to combat global warming.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.