When it comes to the products we use every day — from food, to clothing, to household items — the fact that they are often shipped from all corners of the Earth means that they generally have a shockingly high carbon footprint. However former UK government chief scientific adviser Professor Sir David King believes that we can greatly reduce the carbon footprint of freight by re-employing a form of transport from the past – the airship.

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Unsurprisingly, the airship fell out of favor as a form of personal travel after the Hindenburg disaster, but in recent years the likes of Boeing and Lockheed Martin have been redeveloping the technology. The military in particular has pursued airships being as long-range recon units.

However King believes that instead of finding terrorists, airships could be better used to transport our freight at a much smaller environmental cost. Speaking at the World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment in Oxford, Sir King said to UK newspaper The Guardian that, “there are an awful lot of people we talk to who say this is going to happen. This is something I believe is going to happen.

It would be unwise to bet against him. With the likes of high-speed rail proving a rapid, more environmentally-friendly alternative to air travel, greener forms of transport are becoming more and more ‘vogue’. It is not surprising, as the transport industry currently represents 22% of greenhouse gases in Europe. In the States, it is even more.

As such, blimps could soon be given more useful tasks than simply advertising firms above football games. Of course, they wouldn’t be used for jobs that needed a more rapid delivery – such as priority mail and perishable food stuffs, but for not-so urgent items they can provide a lower-cost and greener alternative.

Here’s hoping the idea takes off (pun intended).

Via The Guardian UK