Photo: Vytautas Kielaitis/Shutterstock

United Pledges to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions 100% by 2050

Sustainability News Airports + Flying
by Eben Diskin Dec 11, 2020

Following the trend of nations committing to reduce greenhouse gasses and setting climate goals, United Airlines has now pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100 percent by 2050.

In the airline’s announcement on Thursday, CEO Scott Kirby said, “As the leader of one of the world’s largest airlines, I recognize our responsibility in contributing to fight climate change, as well as our responsibility to solve it.”

To accomplish this goal, United will switch its fuel to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), which produces up to 80 percent less carbon emissions than traditional jet fuel. United has already been investing in this fuel, operating over 215,000 flights powered by SAF over the past four years. It will also be investing in Direct Air Capture technology that permanently captures and sequesters carbon from the air. United explained that one Direct Air Capture plant “is expected to capture and permanently sequester one million tons of CO2 each year, the equivalent of the work of 40 million trees.”

According to Kirby, “These game-changing technologies will significantly reduce our emissions, and measurably reduce the speed of climate change. United Airlines is the only airline investing in these technologies. And we’re not just doing it to meet our own sustainability goal. We’re doing it to drive the positive change our entire industry requires so that every airline can eventually join us and do the same.”

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