U.S. Targets Net-Zero Aviation by 2050

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The U.S. has set an ambitious goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its aviation sector by 2050. The proposal calls for the increased production of sustainable airplane fuels and the development of new aircraft technologies, while increasing current operational efficiency to reduce fuel usage.

Published on the 9th of November during the COP26 conference held in Glasgow, the plan – dubbed the 2021 Aviation Climate Action Plan – follows a statement made by The White House in September calling for 20% lower aviation emissions by 2030 as well as efforts by the U.S. to limit methane emissions from oil and gas industries.

“The Climate Action Plan we are announcing today is ambitious yet achievable, and will help create a sustainable aviation future,” stated Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement, adding that, “This plan shows we can combat climate change while growing the economy and creating good paying American jobs.” 

According to the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in addition to the development of new technologies, sustainable fuels will be required to increase operational efficiency and curb emissions.

The Director of Sustainable Energy at George Washington University’s Environment & Energy Management Institute, Scott Sklar, noted, “Petroleum is their largest cost, and it has very high peaks historically that puts them on the brink of bankruptcy.” Sklar concluded that, “having domestic fuels that can either be blended or replace petroleum at those higher cost peaks makes them more stable over the long-term period.” 

The FAA has indicated that new, fuel-efficient, narrow-body aircraft are expected to enter the U.S. fleet by the 2030s, with wide-body aircraft expected by the 2040s.

“The U.S. has led in aviation for decades, and we must continue that leadership by building a sustainable aviation system,” stated FAA Administrator, Steve Dickson. “Our freedom to fly requires use to take action.” 

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Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen is a Video Editor and Content Writer at Energy Capital & Power. He holds an Honours Degree in Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town and is currently undergoing his Masters Degree. Born in Pretoria and raised internationally, he has been living in Cape Town since 2013.

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