According to the head of global airline body IATA, the global airlines will be prompted to raise its own environmental goals because of increasing backlash of activists and investors of oil majors against the companies’ ‘green’ shift which is seen as a good development for the aviation industry.
Investment in the lower-emission fuels could be boosted by the oil majors because of the challenges of the kind encountered by Exxon, Chevron and Shell this and this change is desperately needed by airlines, said Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association.
“I think it’s great that the oil industry has been criticised. Anything that accelerates the production of sustainable fuels is a positive,” Walsh said.
Earlier this week, three major oil companies of the world suffered defeats after 61 per cent of the shareholders of Chevron supported a call demanding end-use emissions cuts while a couple of activist candidates were elected to the board of Exxon Mobil to push ahead climate demands. On the other hand, drastic emission cuts by Royal Dutch Shell were ordered by a Dutch court.
Walsh, the former boss of British Airways and its owner IAG said that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the focus and pressure on climate emissions.
Walsh said that so far, those airlines that have pledged reducing net emissions by 2050 will be asked to go further at IATA’s annual meeting in October which were indicated by Alexandre de Juniac, his predecessor
The Paris Agreement of 2015 had superseded the previous 2009 goal, Walsh said and which resulted in pledged by governments and companies – including many airlines – to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century.
“Anything less than net-zero by 2050 will be disappointing for the industry and will leave us open to criticism that we’re not doing enough,” he said while acknowledging that some states including China still consider the target too ambitious.
Walsh said that investment burden-sharing by energy companies and aerospace manufacturers will be required for increasing the aviation goal as well as removing air traffic control inefficiencies that wastes fuel – which is particularly seen in Europe.
A senior Brussels official said this week that diplomatic and military objections has put on the back burner a new effort to replace the airspace patchwork in Europe with a “single European sky”.
According to the plans of the European Union, airlines will have to make use of a minimum percentage of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) which is generally prepared from waste oil, biomass or synthetically with renewable power.
However Walsh said that because the volumes of SAF produced by fuel companies are inadequate for airlines, therefore the price of the environment friendly fuel is still prohibitively high.
“It shouldn’t be for the airlines to fund research and development into sustainable fuels,” he said. “It should be for the companies that are making the unsustainable fuels to start investing.”
(Adapted from Reuters.com)