Chief executives of the United States’ largest airlines discussed reducing their emissions with senior Biden administration officials. The meeting with climate adviser Gina McCarthy and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg touched on economic policy and curbing the spread of COVID-19. But top of the agenda for United Airlines CEO, Scott Kirby, was government incentives to transition to sustainable aviation fuel, and technology to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
A United Nations aviation group has concluded that biofuels will remain a tiny source of aviation fuel for several years. Some environmentalists however, would prefer the Biden administration to impose tougher emissions standards on aircraft rather than create breaks for biofuels. “Biofuels are false solutions that don’t decarbonize air travel,” said Clare Lakewood, a climate-law official with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Real action on aircraft emissions requires phasing out dirty, aging aircraft, maximizing operational efficiencies and funding the rapid development of electrification.” Aeroplanes account for a small portion of emissions that cause climate change — about 2% to 3% — but their share has been growing rapidly and is expected to roughly triple by mid-century with the global growth in travel. The airline trade group says US carriers have more than doubled the fuel efficiency of their fleets since 1978 and plan further reductions in carbon emissions. But the independent International Council on Clean Transportation says passenger traffic is growing nearly four times faster than fuel efficiency, leading to a 33% increase in emissions between 2013 and 2019. The US accounts for about 23% of aircraft carbon-dioxide emissions, followed by Europe at 19% and China at 13%, the transportation group’s researchers estimated. Nicholas Calio, president of the trade group Airlines for America, said the exchange was positive.
Airline CEOs, Biden officials consider green-fuel breaks, AP News, 2021-02-27