COP26

US sets goal of net-zero aviation emissions by 2050

Reuters
US sets goal of net-zero aviation emissions by 2050

US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks to the news media during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, USA on November 8, 2021.

Leah Millis/Reuters

The 'International Aviation Climate Ambition Declaration' is expected to be announced at COP26

The United States is setting a goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the US aviation sector by 2050, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Tuesday, November 9.

The White House said in September it was targeting 20% lower aviation emissions by 2030, as airlines facing pressure from environmental groups to lower their carbon footprint pledged to use more sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

President Joe Biden has previously set a target of making the United States net carbon neutral by 2050.

“This plan shows we can combat climate change while growing the economy and creating good paying American jobs,” Buttigieg said.

At the climate talks in Glasgow, Buttigieg will represent the United States as a coalition of countries led by Britain are expected to announce the “International Aviation Climate Ambition Declaration,” sources told Reuters.

That declaration, according to a draft seen by Reuters, will acknowledge that the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is the appropriate forum for addressing emissions from international aviation and include commitments to push ICAO to adopt an “ambitious long-term aspirational goal” and support SAF development.

The US goal of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 was supported by an analysis by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In addition to sustainable fuel, new aircraft technologies will be needed along with increasing operations efficiency as well as cutting airport emissions, the FAA said.

“The decarbonization of the aviation sector is extremely challenging,” the FAA said.

The plan includes emissions offsets by airlines “to address any remaining in-sector emissions until the sector is only using fuels with zero net life cycle GHG emissions.”

The FAA said that with investments by the US government and industry, “new narrow-body aircraft could enter the fleet in the 2030s and new wide-body aircraft in the 2040s.”

In March, Airlines for America, an industry trade group representing Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines and others, committed to working with government “to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.” – Rappler.com