Airline Industry to Weigh Goal of Net-Zero Emissions by 2050


The airline industry’s global trade group will propose eliminating carbon emissions on a net basis by 2050, as pressure builds to improve the climate goals of a segment that’s come under increasing criticism for its use of fossil fuels. To learn more, read “Airline Industry to Weigh Goal of Net-Zero Emissions by 2050.” Reading this article may require a subscription from the news outlet.

Key Takeaways:

  • The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) will ask carriers to adopt the target at its annual meeting in Boston in October, according to IATA’s director general, Willie Walsh.
  • While airlines including British Airways owner IAG SA, Delta Airlines Inc. and United Airlines Holding Inc. have all made net-zero commitments, IATA hasn’t updated its own goal since 2009. At that time, airlines pledged to cut CO2 output 50% by mid-century, compared with 2005 levels.
  • IATA intends to hold planemaker AirBus SE to a pledge to produce a hydrogen-fueled aircraft by 2035 and said the model needs to have a size comparable to the top-selling A320 narrow body – carrying 150 people – and a range of at least 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).
  • Airlines’ CO2 emissions reached about 915 million metric tons in 2019, according to the Air Transportation Action Group.
  • Based on 2005 levels, IATA’s current target is for carriers to reduce carbon emissions to 325 million metric tons by 2050.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Decarbonizing to meet ambitious renewable energy goals will require new approaches and ways of thinking, especially in aviation. Shifting to hydrogen and carbon neutral fuels is one path the industry can take to reduce carbon emissions. This will require investments in technologies such as power-to-gas and carbon capture to produce renewable fuels at scale for the transportation sector.

Photo by Etienne Jong on Unsplash