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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.

President Joe Biden vows to be "a president for all Americans"

Moments after taking the oath of office, President Joe Biden sought to soothe a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, while warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."

Why it matters: From the same steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier, the new president paid deference to the endurance of American political institutions.

Updated 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden and Vice President Harris review readiness of military troops, a long-standing tradition to signify the peaceful transfer of power.