American Airlines Commits To Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets By 2035

With environmental considerations playing an increasingly important role in airlines’ future plans, American Airlines has published its latest sustainability commitment. The Fort Worth-based US legacy carrier and oneworld founding member is aiming to implement a ‘science-based’ target for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.

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American already has a 2050 net-zero target in place. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Setting a science-based target

American Airlines announced in a statement yesterday that it had become the first North American carrier to seek validation from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). This is a collaboration between various key groups, including CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

In doing so, the airline has committed to establishing a target for a reduction in its emissions by 2035. The SBTi will ratify this to ensure that it is in line with the most recent research into climate science. Doug Parker, American’s Chair and CEO, stated that he welcomes “the accountability that comes with taking this step,” adding:

We are building American Airlines to thrive forever, which is why we set an ambitious goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Now, we’re committing to set a science-based target for 2035 because the seriousness of the climate challenge demands it. We’ve already laid a strong foundation by prioritizing near-term solutions to reduce our emissions, like renewing our fleet.”

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American is the first North American carrier to seek validation from the SBTi. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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Looking to limit global temperature rise

With global temperatures on the rise as a result of climate change, American and its partners are looking to limit these increases as much as possible. In having committed to setting a science-based target for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the airline has also become a signatory to a campaign that is looking to hinder rising temperatures.

Known as the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, this initiative has set a goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. CDP is one of the SBTi’s partners, and its CEO, Paul Simpson, backs the idea of limiting temperature rises. He states that:

The science is clear: in order to limit the catastrophic impacts of climate change, we must ensure warming does not exceed 1.5°C. The ambition is high but it’s achievable. Science-based targets give companies a roadmap for getting there. Corporations worldwide have an unprecedented opportunity to be at the very forefront of the transition to a net-zero economy.”

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American hopes to prevent catastrophic climate change effects by helping to limit rises in global temperatures. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

2050 vision

American is also one of an increasing number of companies in the industry to have set its sights on 2050 as a key date for environmental progress. In this regard, it (and many other airlines) hope to achieve net-zero carbon emissions within the next 29 years. This bold commitment to eradicating carbon shows that stakeholders are serious in the matter.

It set this goal last October. The oneworld alliance to which American belongs (and was a founder of) was the first airline grouping to unite behind this shared goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. It will go about achieving this target in several ways, with measures including (but not limited to) fleet renewal, sustainable fuel, and enhanced operational efficiency,

What do you make of American’s environmental targets? Would you like to see other airlines set similar goals? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.