Climate change has weighed heavily on the minds of many people in the last few years. While people have control over the amount of energy they use at home, and how much they drive, some of the biggest polluters are industrial. Companies like airlines use a lot of fossil fuels and have been criticized as big polluters.
Recently, airlines themselves have begun to address the issue of their emissions. They know that emissions are increasingly important to the passengers they serve. They also have reasons of their own to reduce emissions. Reducing fuel costs is a way for airlines to be more efficient and maximize profits. Finding renewable or less expensive energy sources would make airlines much more profitable.
Budget airlines like EasyJet and JetBlue are among the carriers that have set the most ambitious emissions-cutting goals. EasyJet aims to halve emissions per passenger in the coming years. Airlines like Korean Air move more freight than budget airlines. While they are committed to reducing emissions, these airlines expect to be unable to halve emissions.
One criticism of the targets set by the airlines themselves is that they’re calculated on a per-passenger basis. Some economists and observers expect that budget airlines will not reduce emissions as much as they will pack planes with more people. Calculations on a per flight basis could be revealing for economists.
Although EasyJet and other airlines may not be altruistic in seeking to reduce emissions, any improvements in efficiency will be progress. In fact, the motive of increasing profits may drive the airlines harder than vague ideas about being good. Maximizing efficiencies can benefit both the company and the environment.
In addition to goals set by individual airlines for themselves, industry organizations have also made goals for the aviation industry. The International Civil Aviation Organization hasn’t released detailed information about its goals. The ICAO has, however, confirmed that the industry has a plan to cut emissions, and that it is on track.
Leaders in the airline industry know that they must make progress on emissions by 2020. If they don’t set their own limits, governments will step in to fill the gap with increased regulation. In today’s political climate, with wide-ranging climate change proposals like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s, every industry must pay attention to carbon emissions.