Airlines commits to net zero emissions and to offset carbon emissions

International Airlines Group (IAG) has become the first airline group to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with interim targets for a 10% reduction in CO2 per passenger kilometre by 2025 and a 20 per cent reduction in net CO2 by 2030, both compared to 2020 levels. IAG says it is developing management incentives for employees to reduce carbon emissions across the group in line with the targets.

IAG says its pledge will contribute to both the UK government’s commitment to a net zero carbon economy by 2050 and the UN objective to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The goal, it believes, can be achieved through replacing older aircraft with new, more fuel-efficient models; replacing fossil-based kerosene with sustainable aviation fuels and addressing remaining emissions through carbon offsetting.

The airline group – which includes BA, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and Level – says it is the first time it has set a target to reduce net CO2 emissions, with the goal to cut emissions from around the 26 million tonnes (Mt) expected in 2020 to 22 Mt by 2030, an overall saving of 160 Mt over the 10-year period. This translates to producing 60% less net CO2 per passenger km than in 2005. IAG says it is already meeting a fuel efficiency target of 87.3 grammes of CO2 per passenger km by 2020 compared to 100.5 in 2012, and has added a new target of 80.0 by 2025.