The boss of one of the world's largest airlines says the world has received a "wake-up call" over climate change.
Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said the Extinction Rebellion protests across the world and teenager Greta Thunberg's speech at the United Nations had made people start to take the climate crisis seriously, news.com.au reports.
But he also questioned how much was being done on this side of the world, citing New Zealand's plan for carbon neutrality by 2050.
The climate change debate has raged in Australia in recent weeks after bushfires that has devastated the east coast.
It led to Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying Australia's domestic climate action had no bearing on individual fires raging across Australia.
"Climate change is a global phenomenon and we're doing our bit as part of the response to climate change," Morrison said.
The issue of climate change is one that airlines have also had to face up to, with the rise of the "flight shaming" movement, which chastises travellers for the carbon footprint flying leaves behind.
The movement could halve the growth of air travel, with people surveyed in Europe saying they were trying to cut back on how many flights they took.
Speaking at a media roundtable at Dubai's Al Maktoum Airport, Clark admitted Emirates used "100 million barrels of oil a year" — or about one day's worth of the global emissions each year.
Air travel across the world accounts for about 2.5 per cent of the world's emissions.
For Emirates, fuel accounts for more than 30 per cent of the company's running costs. In 2018-19 its fuel bill was $13 billion.
Clark admitted the aviation industry could do more to tackle the climate crisis. But he also said the rest of the world needed to step up.
And while the world can't agree on how to tackle climate change, nothing will be done.
"The United States is not at the top level a believer in climate change," he said in reference to US President Donald Trump.
"Brazilians don't share the view. Australia is very interested, but you've got some hardliners on both sides.
"Recent events like Extinction Rebellion and Greta – these are wake-up calls, they are alarm bells going off – they're not going to solve the problem, they're just telling us that we're not moving at a pace we should be moving to deal with it, and everybody's got to do it."
But Clark said one of the biggest issues in tackling climate change was the lack of a united effort.
"The approach to climate change, and how you pull all the levers and press all the buttons has got to be holistic," he said.
"If you look at the Europeans, the French do one thing, the Dutch do another, the Germans do another, the Brits do something else. There is no homogeny in all of that."
He suggested the easiest way to deal with the issue was taxing big polluters, with that money then invested into developing synthetic and renewable fuels.
Clark said unless there was a united approach to tackling the climate change issue, it wouldn't work.
"You can reach billions of people with one message. And if you use that constructively, then that messaging can be profound," he said.
"If you send a message that has different messaging, different timing, you will not win on this. So we need to co-ordinate.
"We have the will do it. You've got the will to do it, you've just got to find the means to do it, and how we're going to do it, and I'm not quite sure we're there yet."
The lack of a united front on tackling climate change has been an issue in Australian politics for more than a decade.
During the recent bushfires, Liberal Senator Gerard Rennick accused the Bureau of Meteorology of changing temperature records to fit a "global warming agenda".
In response, Labor Senator Murray Watt said: "This is the reason why it is impossible to get a sensible climate debate going in this country – let alone come up with some solutions."
Despite the rise in flight shaming, Clark said the idea that people could travel without planes was not realistic.
He said Emirates was 50 per cent more efficient than 30 years ago, but the cost of flights had dropped so much that international travel was affordable for billions more people.
He also questioned New Zealand's plan for carbon neutrality by 2050.
"What exactly do they mean by carbon neutrality or zero emissions? Carbon neutrality by offsets is one thing — people like us going in and planting huge amounts of forest — but is that what you want? Is that what it means?" Clark said.
"Frankly if they are going to be zero carbon — in other words they will not allow anything that chucks out carbon — that's a big challenge. So it's a noble, laudable aspiration, but if you're serious it has to be more than an aspiration. Define exactly what it means and put it out there."
The reporter travelled to the Dubai Airshow as a guest of Emirates