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Aircraft giant aims to highlight green credentials

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has launched a new photography exhibition in partnership with National Geographic, aiming to underscore its commitment to green activities.

The "See the Bigger Picture" exhibition launched in Paris Thursday as part of the events organized for the United Nations' International Year of Biodiversity. It features amateur photographs taken by children under the age of 16, who submitted their entries with their interpretation of what biodiversity means.

The prize, presented to eight young people from the 99 countries that submitted entries, is a trip to the National Geographic headquarters in New York. Runners-up will see their photos join the UNESCO Biodiversity Exhibition world tour, which begins on February 24 when the current display at UNESCO headquarters in Paris ends.

The theme of a "bigger picture" is paramount to Airbus, which is keen to highlight the fact that aircraft emissions make up a minimal part of global manmade emissions. Both Airbus and rival Boeing are keen to champion their green credentials, performing alternative fuel test flights and developing larger planes to reduce the environmental impact of flying.

"Aviation is already putting a huge effort into reducing the 2% it contributes to manmade emissions through research and technology designed to increase aircraft efficiency, reduce fuel burn and develop alternative fuels," said Airbus VP Andrea Debbane. "In this important year we are asking others in our industry to join us in taking responsibility and ensuring this message is as far reaching as possible."

Environmentally-friendly design is now a central component of new aircraft production. Boeing clains that its new 787 Dreamliner is 20 percent more fuel efficient than current jets on the market due to its lightweight composite structure. Airbus says that its competing design, the A350XWB, will be greener still.