UK-based airline Easyjet has announced today (November 19) that they will be offsetting all carbon emissions from their flights, but they admit this is not a ‘silver-bullet fix’ for emissions.
Easyjet is the first major airline to announce that it will be offsetting emissions from its flights, and they say they will offset its emissions by investing in forestry, renewable and community-based projects.
Direct emissions from the aviation industry account for around 2% of all global emissions, making the aviation industry one of the top ten global emitters.
Carbon offset schemes allow the largest polluters who exceed permitted emissions levels to fund projects that reduce carbon dioxide in order to balance out their emissions.
EasyJet says carbon offsetting is only an ‘interim measure’ while new technologies are developed, including hybrid and electric planes. However, critics say that it could be several decades before these technologies are part of the mainstream.
Johan Lundgren, EasyJet’s CEO said: ‘Climate change is an issue for all of us. At Easyjet, we are tackling this challenge head-on by choosing to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of our flights starting today.’
‘In doing so we are committing to operating net-zero carbon flights across our network, a world-first by any major airline.’
‘People have a choice in how they travel and people are now thinking about the potential carbon impact of different types of transport.’
‘But many people still want to fly and if people choose to fly we want to be one of the best choices they can make.’
Although this is a step in the right direction for the aviation industry, controversy around carbon offsetting remains.
Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth campaigner told Environment Journal that: ‘We are in a climate crisis and off-setting is not the silver-bullet fix EasyJet seems to think it is.’
‘We actually just need to fly less.’
‘A frequent flyer levy is needed to discourage the multiple flights taken by just a few to help fix the difference between artificially cheap flights and more sustainable train travel.’
‘But there’s no getting away from the climate pollution from flights and the need for this sector to play its part.’
Hæge Fjellheim, head of carbon research at Refinitiv also commented: ‘While European power and industry emissions are in decline, aviation sector emissions have increased and are expected to continue growing.’
‘Today’s move will need more airlines to follow suit if we are to see some meaningful impact.’
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