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Climate change is a reality that the world needs to face. And over the years, airlines contributed greatly to this problem. The aviation industry is responsible for 2.5% of the world’s carbon emissions according to the International Energy Agency.

For critics, the best solution is to fly less. However, this isn’t practical. For Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, “Over time, it’s going to cost us all more”. He also added that “but it’s the right approach that we must take”.

Delta spent $30 million annually just to offset their carbon emissions. And all these efforts allowed Delta to reach carbon neutrality since March 2020. And it doesn’t end there. Delta plans to spend more to contribute to minimizing the effects of climate change. The airline pledged to spend $1 billion in the next decade to cancel the emissions that come out of its aircraft.

Sustainable Aviation Fuels and Fuel-Efficient Planes

To achieve the goal of reducing carbon emissions, airlines see sustainable aviation fuel and fuel-efficient planes as their best bet.

Reducing or getting rid of carbon emissions completely is an important step towards limiting the effects of climate change to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This was agreed in the Paris Climate Accords in 2015. The Paris Agreement covered climate change mitigation, adaptation, and finance. And also, this has been the focus of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, as well.

Climate Change Will Increase Airfares by 10-20%

Experts suggest that airfares will have to increase by 10-20% to cover for the airlines’ environmental efforts. And Bastian admits that it’s something that Delta can’t do alone. Other companies and industries are also doing their part. For instance, technologies are developed to turn food waste into jet fuel. Plus, there is also research on how to pull out carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

He said that “It’s the biggest long-term challenge this industry faces”. He added that “We’re in an industry that’s classified as hard to decarbonize because we don’t have the bio-fuels or the sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) en mass yet that we’re going to need”.

By the end of 2030, Delta targets to use 10% sustainable aviation fuel in its operations.

John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.

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