Brussels (Brussels Morning) Airbus aerospace company announced plans to measure its environmental impact, according to RFI reporting on Saturday.
The company released data indicating the lifetime carbon emissions of its airplanes, a move, it said, that should help the aviation industry measure its progress towards environmental goals.
Julie Kitcher, Airbus executive vice president, said it represented an opportunity to increase transparency given that the company wants to show its “commitment to driving decarbonisation of the sector”.
The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation notes that aircraft manufacture accounts for 2% of global CO2 emissions and called for urgent action to be taken to ensure that expected increases in passenger air traffic do not add to pollution levels.
Environmental groups applying pressure
The aviation sector is under growing pressure from environmentalists to meet its 2050 target of cutting CO2 emissions by 50% compared to 2005 levels.
According to Airbus’ calculations, the 863 airplanes it delivered in 2019 have an estimated lifetime of 22 years and will emit roughly 740 million tonnes of CO2 during their time in service.
In comparison, France’s CO2 emissions in 2019 were estimated at 441 million tonnes.
Airbus stressed that the efficiency of its planes is improving, noting that the aircraft delivered in 2019 are expected to emit an average of 66.6 grams of CO2 per passenger per kilometre, compared with 63.5 grams for the airplanes it delivered last year.
According to International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates, the existing commercial fleet, which includes older aircraft, emits approximately 90 grams per passenger per kilometre.
The ICCT estimates that automobiles emit 122 grams of CO2 per kilometre, but notes that the number of passengers per vehicle needs to be taken into account to make a comparison.
Industry’s plans for improvement
The aviation industry is betting on the development of sustainable fuels, made from renewable sources, to cut emissions in the coming period. In addition, the industry is considering the use of sustainably-produced hydrogen as a fuel.