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Illustration of Airbus' “blended-wing body” zero-emissions plane. Courtesy of Airbus

Airbus has released three "concepts" for big zero-emissions planes that could take flight by 2035.

Why it matters: Carbon emissions from aviation are an important source of planet-warming gases. They had been rising until the pandemic hit and likely will again.

Driving the news: Airbus showed pictures of three planes that would use hydrogen as their main power source, calling it "likely to be a solution for aerospace and many other industries to meet their climate-neutral targets."

  • The one above is a “blended-wing body” design with an "exceptionally wide" design that allows multiple hydrogen storage options.
  • The others are a shorter-haul turboprop design, and a jet with a range of 2,000+ nautical miles.
  • Both of those two have an outward appearance that's more like today's passenger planes.

The big picture: "Airbus estimates hydrogen has the potential to reduce aviation’s CO2 emissions by up to 50%," they said.

  • With the 2035 operational target, Airbus said it's planning nearer-term steps by 2025 to prepare, with plans over the "coming months" to begin testing hydrogen fuel cell and combustion tech.

Go deeper: Airbus wants to build zero-emission planes by 2035. Here's how (CNN)

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Dec 15, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Study finds viable pathways to "net-zero" U.S. emissions by 2050

The gas-powered Valley Generating Station in the San Fernando Valley on March 10, 2017. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

A major Princeton University-led analysis concludes there's a range of economically beneficial and technologically feasible options for reaching "net-zero" U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 — but big investments and supportive policies would need to begin now.

The big picture: President-elect Joe Biden has embedded that 2050 target in his plan, and a number of states and major corporations share that goal or similar ones. More broadly, net-zero emissions by midcentury is considered a global goal for avoiding some of the most damaging effects of climate change.

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.