Four of the US’s biggest airlines are set to meet with White House representatives tomorrow to discuss airline carbon emissions. The CEOs of American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Southwest Airlines will participate in the online conference just weeks after the new Biden Administration re-joins the Paris Agreement.
New initiatives for cutting emissions
President Biden and his new government look set to take climate change very seriously. The US rejoined the Paris Agreement to monitor and prevent global warming at the end of January after President Trump left the agreement in 2020. But Biden is taking things one step further and is looking to US airlines to help cut carbon emissions.
The CEOs of the four major US airlines, American, Delta, United, and Southwest, will meet with White House National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy and economic adviser Brian Deese via a digital platform. The topic of conversation will focus on environmental issues, greenhouse gas emissions, and fuel efficiency.
According to reports, the meeting is not singling out the aviation industry but is part of a broader plan to reduce the US’s carbon emissions. It is thought that the new administration will offer financial incentives to get airlines to switch to sustainable fuel options as well as help upgrade fleets to newer, more environmentally-friendly aircraft. The Biden administration hopes to decarbonize the US power sector by 2035 and so will be meeting with other federal agencies and sectors to find ways to meet this target.
Are airlines doing enough?
While most people believe the switch to more sustainable options is good, some have said the government should be focusing elsewhere. The Air Transport Action Group states that currently, air travel stands at just 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions and is just 12% of all transport-related Carbon Dioxide emissions.
In addition, some airlines have already undertaken their own initiatives to help lower carbon emissions. United Airlines has already said it supports the new government’s plans and has committed its own funds as part of a plan to be 10% green by 2050. American Airlines has also promised to be net carbon emissions by 2050.
The use of sustainable fuel is already increasing, with more and more airlines opting to use greener fuel. Carbon offsetting has also grown in popularity as major airlines now offset carbon emissions with donations to environmental charities and projects worldwide. Boeing has also committed to using only sustainable fuel sources by 2030.
The top priority
The US airlines seem willing to meet with White House executives to discuss environmental issues; this will be the second meeting in just a few weeks. Airlines met with the White House COVID-19 response team to discuss changes to travel policies across the US. Although the focus on environmental issues is ongoing, many believe the government and airlines should be focussing on tackling the growing pandemic and helping airlines recover from the downturn rather than talking about sustainable fuel.
What do you think the major airlines should be focussing on right now? Should they be doing more for the environment? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.