JetBlue is abandoning carbon offsets for its domestic flights, shifting its focus to sustainable aviation fuels instead. It’s a step that could help the airline actually reduce its emissions rather than rely primarily on controversial carbon offsets to combat the use of fossil fuels.
Come back 2020, JetBlue has become the first US airline to voluntarily offset greenhouse gas emissions from all of its domestic flights. That effort will end in 2023, the company announced this week.
The airline now plans to effectively cut its emissions per seat in half by 2035. In order for flights to take off without creating a lot of pollution, JetBlue says its planes will need to run on gas. sustainable aviation fuel [SAF].
“JetBlue sees SAF as the most promising path to meaningfully and rapidly addressing aviation emissions. – once the cost-effective SAF is made available on a commercial scale,” the company said on Dec. Press Release.
There are also environmental challenges with SAF
As of 2020, JetBlue’s routes between San Francisco and Los Angeles regularly run on sustainable aviation fuel. But the company will eventually need more SAFs, possibly made from waste or crops like corn. It is considered a potential”bridge fuel” while electric plane and powered by hydrogen The jet is still under development. JetBlue has signed agreements with several companies to buy more SAF, but it still has a rather limited supply and is more expensive than conventional kerosene jet fuel.
There are also environmental challenges with SAF. Making and burning SAF still produces CO2 emissions. A lot of that CO2 is supposed to be canceled by the crop grown for fuel production, but also concerns about which crops lead to more deforestation.
However, the aviation industry is moving towards more sustainable use of aviation fuel. The European Union has offer requires airlines to ensure SAF accounts for 5% of air traffic by 2030, increasing to 63% by 2050. European airline EasyJet also announced that it will stop offsetting its flights next year. Like JetBlue, it also has an investment plan sustainable and increased aviation fuel fuel efficiency of its operation.
Carbon offsetting is supposed to eliminate the pollution caused by burning aviation fuels by reducing emissions elsewhere – often through investments in renewable energy or forestry projects that rely on plants’ ability to trap carbon dioxide. But many years investigation and research have found that most carbon offsets in the market do not really represent real-world pollution reductions.
While JetBlue is dropping its carbon offset program for domestic flights, the company isn’t actually turning away from offsetting. The airline still plans to purchase a “small amount” of carbon offset credits to try to offset emissions from the growing number of international flights, Bloomberg report. JetBlue Ventures, a subsidiary of the airline, has also invested in the carbon credit company Rubicon Carbon.