This is the kind of innovation that can really solve problems like noise over the West of London and other urban centres and the huge amount of fuel aviation burns:
It is a creation of universities and private industry. No need for a tax as the rising price of fuel, the private market's response to scarcity, ensures innovation in response. Ordinary jets are becoming more efficient and this concept illustrates just how much more efficient planes can become.
Monbiot's approach to air travel is thoroughly silly:
"While a large commercial airliner cruises at about 900 kilometres per hour, the maximum speed of an airship is roughly 150kph. At an average speed of 130kph, the journey from London to New York would take 43 hours. Airships are more sensitive to wind than aeroplanes, which means that flights are more likely to be delayed."
Utterly unrealistic and not remotely justified by the harms identified by, for example, the IPCC. The only redeeming thing about the article is its brilliant self-parody of a headline:
If there is a God, he's not green. Otherwise airships would take off
...and there I was worshipping the Jolly Green Giant. Perhaps Monbiot is right, his failure to provide suitable blimps does make all the tasty sweetcorn a bit of a hollow pleasure.