Cathay Pacific Pledges To Reach Net-Zero Carbon Emissions By 2050

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Hong Kong’s flagship airline carrier Cathay Pacific has committed to meeting net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 through the use of sustainable fuel, employing offsetting carbon methods, and reducing its overall emissions through efficiency improvements.

The Cathay Pacific Group has announced that it aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 becoming one of the first airlines in Asia to set up a timeline to reach carbon-neutrality in the aviation industry.

Prior to the pandemic, overall aviation accounts for 2.5% of global CO2 emissions and with its new commitment, Cathay Pacific will reduce this number further and invest in sustainable solutions. This includes investing in Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) that, unlike traditional jet fuel, can slash lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80%. Back in 2014, the airline became the first to invest in Fulcrum BioEnergy that transforms everyday household waste into SAF.

The Group wants to purchase 1.1 million tonnes of SAF over a period of 10 years, which will meet around 2% of its total fuel requirements starting from 2023 and hopes to make it available to use for the entire industry.

In addition, the company will offset its emissions through its carbon offset program, Fly Greener, which provides passengers with a chance to buy offsets based on the CO2 emissions produced from the flight they’ve taken and the collected capital will go towards Gold Standard-accredited third-party projects that reduce emissions. Apart from this, Cathay Pacific says it has been offsetting all the emissions from its employees’ business travel since 2007 and to date, has offset more than 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

In a press release on the company’s website, chief executive officer of Cathay Pacific, Augustus Tang said: “The unprecedented pandemic has shaken the world and showed us that ‘business as usual’ is not an option when dealing with an imminent global risk. Climate change, potentially a much more disruptive crisis, calls for ramped-up efforts.”

Furthermore, the airline will look to reduce its overall emissions through efficiency enhancements by switching to a new fuel-efficient fleet and limiting engine use on the ground with a commitment to drop its ground emissions by 32% before the end of 2030 from the 2018 baseline.

The unprecedented pandemic has shaken the world and showed us that ‘business as usual’ is not an option when dealing with an imminent global risk. Climate change, potentially a much more disruptive crisis, calls for ramped-up efforts

Augustus Tang, chief executive officer of Cathay Pacific

Tang added: “Our net-zero pledge aligns with the requirements laid out in the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Paris Agreement, and provides the focus we need in aligning our strategy – from fleet planning and carbon offsetting to further investment in Sustainable Aviation Fuel and the development of new technologies.”

In the Group’s Sustainable Development Report 2020, its full details of the commitment and its progress to date are available.

Read: Elite Minority Driving Unfair Share Of Global Aviation Emissions, Report Finds

Back in September of last year, to adapt to the new normal of travel, Cathay Pacific partnered with health tech firm Prenetics to trial a digital health passport on select flights which will allow passengers to show their negative Covid-19 test results before boarding. Back in 2019, the airline was the first major name in the aviation industry to serve passengers vegan pork and in partnership with Green Monday, featured its plant-based pork alternative Omnipork as part of the airline’s inflight dining.

Elsewhere, British firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) revealed that its low-carbon hybrid plane with seating for 100 passengers, is set to take off by 2025 and will have a whopping 90% reduction GHGs compared to its traditional competitions in the market. In addition by 2030, it aims to be 100% free of emissions.

Boeing too has committed to running all its planes on fuels developed from vegetable oil, non-recyclable household waste and other sources by 2030 and Airbus has said that three of its novel concepts will achieve its goal of taking off net-zero commercial flights by 2035.


Lead image courtesy of Cathay Pacific.


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