On the eve of COP 26, which will bring together the leaders of hundreds of countries and will be decisive for our future, global aviation faces growing political pressure to cut emissions and demands by environmental groups for curbs to air travel. Here is what we heard about sustainability across the industry in the last month.
The airline industry’s main lobby group adopted a target of eliminating carbon emissions on a net basis by 2050, a goal that will require balancing the fight against climate change with the need to spur demand in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. IATA’s update is the first since 2009. At that time, airlines pledged to cut CO2 output 50% by mid-century, though a subsequent boom in air travel saw emissions surge until the onset of the coronavirus.
Denver International Airport is making two major steps towards becoming one of the most sustainable airports in the world. First, they will permanently plug 64 wells, which have been idle since 2018. Most of those wells were operating long before DIA was built, but over the years, the airport allowed the use of fracking to develop new wells. Secondly, DIA is expanding its renewable energy portfolio by constructing the first solar array called Two New Solar Projects. The project is set to reach commercial operation in the third quarter of 2022.
Delta Airlines announced an update on their path to net zero. Delta’s strategy includes working closely with the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) to advance the work already underway and develop a new emissions target to limit the worst effects of climate change. There are also new coalitions and partnerships like Race to Zero and Global Citizen, Google and Chevron, the LEAF and Clean Skies for Tomorrow coalitions.
The nonprofit organisation Atmosfair has opened the world’s first plant to produce carbon-neutral jet fuel. The group announced that its site in Emsland, in northern Germany, is expected to begin producing eight barrels (about 1 ton) of synthetic kerosene a day in early 2022. Synthetic kerosene, also called e-kerosene or power-to-liquid (PtL), is seen as having huge potential to slash the aviation industry’s carbon footprint.
As many of you, we can’t wait to get back to travelling the world and discovering new places. But even during the most exciting trip we can’t forget about our planet. App in the Air’s reforestation partner, One Tree Planted, shares nine ways of how to reduce your carbon footprint through sustainable travel, including use of our carbon calculator to determine how many trees you need to plant to offset the CO2 impact of your flight.