Healthy airline competition when it comes to sustainability and lowering CO2 emissions is a great thing. However, collaboration and cooperation are even better. All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) announced Friday that they had developed a joint report with the realistic title “Toward Virtually Zero CO2 Emissions from Air Transport in 2050.”
SAFs central to carbon neutrality
While most declarations call for ‘net-zero’, the marginally more pessimistic collaborative report between Japan’s two largest carriers is saying ‘virtually zero’. The report is intended to, according to the airlines, expand awareness and promote understanding of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
Both carriers say that biofuels are expected to become central to their shared goal of achieving carbon neutrality by the midpoint of the century. ANA’s CEO and President, Yuji Hirako, shared the following statement,
“We are in a situation where our generation needs to take immediate action toward the rapidly progressing climate change. Joining together with everyone involved in the aviation industry, we would like to pass on the blue skies to our children’s generation by steadily promoting SAF throughout the industry.”
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Japanese market requiring 2,300 million kL
The report states things that are already known, such as that SAFs can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 80% compared to conventional jet fuel. It also reiterates the sad fact that the current global production of SAF is less than 0.03% of jet fuel demand.
Meanwhile, it also provides details specific to the Japanese market. Based on the forecasted growth of aviation in the country, the amount of SAF needed to achieve zero emissions by 2050 for international and domestic flights by Japanese airlines and for foreign airlines operating in Japan is 2,300 million kiloliters. According to IATA, in 2021, the global production of SAF will reach only 100 million liters.
The efforts to ramp up production is growing in some parts of the world. However, the process in Asia is lagging behind that of Europe and the US. Meanwhile, the SAF market in Asia is predicted to reach $197 billion by 2050. This is due to the region’s expected growth in air travel, which means it will require 40% of the world’s SAF supply.
Calling for Japan to inspire the region
The support for SAF development has been relatively strong from the Japanese government through the country’s Green Innovation Fund. However, “Toward Virtually Zero CO2 Emissions from Air Transport in 2050” is calling for an even more significant commitment to infrastructure investment from the state. ANA and JAL say that Japan can act as a role model for the rest of Asia in achieving viable local production of SAF.
“The role of airlines in connecting people and building bridges between countries will not change in the future. In order to sustain the future of aviation, the new energy of SAF and the cooperation of many people with a variety of knowledge are essential,” said Yuji Akasaka, CEO of Japan Airlines in the carriers’ joint statement issued on Friday.
What do you think of the title of ANA and JAL’s report? Is ‘virtually zero’ a more realistic approach than ‘net-zero’? Leave a comment below and let us know.