U.S. Airlines Commit to Carbon Neutrality by 2050

 - March 31, 2021, 9:06 AM

U.S. airline trade group Airlines for America (A4A) on Tuesday said its member carriers have committed to working across the aviation industry and with government leaders to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As part of the commitment, A4A carriers pledged to work with the government and other “stakeholders” toward a rapid expansion of the production and deployment of commercially viable sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to make 2 billion gallons of SAF available to U.S. aircraft operators in 2030.

“We are proud of our record on climate change. But we know the climate change challenge our country and the world face has only continued to intensify,” said A4A president and CEO Nicholas Calio. “Today, we embrace the need to take even bolder, more significant steps to address this challenge.”

While A4A and its members work to help advance technology, operations, infrastructure, and SAF to meet the 2050 goal, U.S. federal, state, and local governments must implement policies and programs that enable innovation, scale-up, cost-competitiveness, and deployment in each of those areas, while avoiding the implementation of policies that would limit the aviation industry’s ability to invest in emissions-reducing measures, added A4A. “Many A4A members are already investing in SAF, but the aviation industry requires a similar urgent commitment from policymakers, fuel producers, and others in the feedstock and fuel supply chain to achieve meaningful scalability,” said the organization in a statement.

The group estimates that meeting the SAF goal will require an 84 percent annual average increase in production through 2030.

“To move the needle, we must all work together, and the government needs to be an active partner and provide positive infrastructure and other investments to complement our efforts,” said Calio.

The Biden Administration has committed to rejoining the Paris climate accords, signaling one example of a departure from the policies of the Trump administration, which pulled out of the agreement in 2017.

Calio cited examples of positive policy support that Congress could provide in upcoming infrastructure legislation, including a $2 per gallon SAF blender’s tax credit, further modernization of the air traffic management system to enhance efficiency, continuation and expansion of public-private aviation environmental research and development programs, U.S. implementation of the international climate agreement called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), and backing for emerging technologies like carbon capture and sequestration.

“U.S. airlines are ready, willing, and able partners and are proud to be part of the climate change solution," added Calio. "Now is the time for us all to step up, together.”