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The First Carbon-Neutral US Airline Is Almost Here

The First Carbon-Neutral US Airline Is Almost Here
Taylor Rains

Jetblue announced this week that it will become the first U.S. airline to go completely carbon-neutral. Beginning in July, the airline will offset its carbon footprint by investing in environmental projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainability.

JetBlue chief executive Robin Hayes said in a statement, “Air travel connects people and cultures, and supports a global economy, yet we must act to limit this critical industry’s contributions to climate change. We reduce where we can and offset where we can’t. By offsetting all of our domestic flying, we’re preparing our business for the lower-carbon economy that aviation — and all sectors — must plan for.”

JetBlue Environmental Efforts

JetBlue has one of the most efficient Airbus fleets, but aircraft can not be 100% emission-free. To offset this carbon output, JetBlue plans to calculate each of its flight’s total emissions and then offset that by donating to environmental projects, such as Carbonfund.org’s tree-planting project, and other environmental organizations such as EcoAct, Neste, and South Pole. Furthermore, all of JetBlue’s flights out of San Francisco will be run on sustainable fuel. These initiatives are projected to increase the carrier’s carbon emission offset from 2 billion pounds per year to between 15 billion and 17 billion pounds.

Although the airline did not disclose the cost of the project, they say that airfare will not rise as a result. A spokesperson said in a statement, “This is the cost of doing business. We’ve always anticipated customer’s need and expectations — from TV to leg room. From a business perspective this is similar. The difference is that in addition to answering our customers’ needs, it also addresses an urgent societal issue, growing emissions.”

Aviation and the Climate Crisis

In recent years, the aviation industry has gotten a lot of criticism for its environmental impact. Every year, airlines produce over 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, prompting the “flight shaming” movement that has been pressuring airlines and governments to take action on the issue. Hopefully, JetBlue’s move towards becoming a completely carbon-neutral airline paves the way for a cleaner industry.

View Comments (5)

5 Comments

  1. fotographer

    January 14, 2020 at 6:57 am

    sorry, putting money in to some scam does not make you carbon neutral …. you are still producing the same amount of exhaust has you were before

  2. kc1174

    January 15, 2020 at 4:20 am

    @fotographer you may need to google what carbon neutral means before commenting.
    We emit Co2, trees take it in, they emit o2 = carbon neutral.
    Same here, but on a far larger scale.

  3. tracon

    January 15, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    “We emit Co2, trees take it in, they emit o2 = carbon neutral.”

    Until the tree dies and the carbon gets released back into the air.

  4. corbetti

    January 16, 2020 at 3:34 am

    thank you Tracon, you beat me to it.

    creating carbon sinks is how you can offset the creation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A tree is still one of the single best carbon sinks – requires no maintenance, self operating, self propagating, and they look nice, too. plant them in coastal areas (e.g. mangroves) and you create new habitats that encourage biodiversity and can create new local economic opportunities (like shrimp farming)

  5. strickerj

    January 16, 2020 at 6:14 am

    I can’t speak for the OP, but I think what he/she meant was that a cottage industry has popped up offering these carbon offsets for people who feel guilty about their contribution to emissions, but there’s no vetting or oversight of them. I’m other words, there’s no proof that they aren’t just taking your money and doing nothing with it.

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