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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling upon governments to create policies that foster and support increased creation of sustainable aviation fuels.In a post on the trade organization’s LinkedIn account, IATA said sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) go a long way toward reducing harmful carbon emissions that trigger climate change. The organization said the use of such fuels reduces carbon emissions by up to 80 percent.“With 100% carbon reduction and 100% certification on the way, the future from a technology perspective looks bright,” the IATA post said.However, the trade association, which represents the world's airlines, said there remain challenges to widespread adoption of SAF. In particular, sustainable fuels are more expensive and currently, the supply remains limited.
Sustainable aviation fuels can reduce carbon emissions up to 80% IATA says (Photo Credit: (photo via ALG Vacations))
"The first thing governments should do is create supporting policies to increase SAF production,” Marie Owens Thomsen, SVP of sustainability and chief economist for IATA, said in the LinkedIn post.IATA went on to point out that countries that signed onto the Paris Climate Agreement—an international treaty designed to address climate change—continue to actively subsidize “an overwhelming number of products and services that are based on fossil fuel.”“To date most countries don’t incentivize SAF production,” added Thomsen. “It means that refineries that could produce SAF aren’t doing so. As we see more renewable fuel production capacity coming online that doesn’t necessarily mean that SAF will be produced.”
A separate post on the IATA website estimates that sustainable aviation fuel could contribute about 65 percent of the reduction in emissions needed by aviation to reach net-zero in 2050. Reaching even that goal however, would require “a massive increase in production in order to meet demand,” the IATA website says.“Government policy has an instrumental role to play in the deployment of SAF. IATA encourages policies which are harmonized across countries and industries, while being technology and feedstock agnostic,” the website explains. Incentives could be used to accelerate SAF deployment, according to IATA. While sustainable aviation fuel is still in the early stages of market development, mandates could be applied as part of a broader governmental strategy to increase production of SAF in conjunction with government incentive programs that are designed to facilitate innovation while also helping to reduce costs.
A handful of airlines have been working to implement higher levels of SAF usage. Earlier this month, United Airlines announced that it will begin using a blend of SAF on flights from San Francisco
International Airport. The airline also plans to use a SAF blend later
this year at London Heathrow Airport, which could put the airline on
track to use approximately 10 million gallons in 2023, nearly three
times more than 2022 and close to 10 times more than 2019.
In March, JetBlue announced a deal to bring additional sustainable aviation fuel to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX.)
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Mia Taylor is an award-winning journalist who has two decades of experience. Most recently she worked as a staff writer for...
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