The no-frills US air carrier JetBlue will go carbon neutral for all domestic flights starting the summer of this year, the company announced Monday.
Advertisements - Click the Speaker Icon for Audio
The company said this makes it the first major US airline to do so in a bid to reduce its contributions to global warming.
The company also said it would begin using “sustainable aviation fuel” on flights from San Francisco later this year.
“We reduce where we can and offset where we can’t,” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said in the statement.
“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.”
Commercial aviation reportedly accounts for about two percent of all carbon emissions worldwide. The industry in 2009 pledged to cut emissions in half by 2050, but according to the International Civil Aviation Organization, fuel consumption is instead set to triple by then.
Research by the Rhodium Group shows that in the United States, greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2018 for the first time in three years, due in large part to demand for jet fuel.
JetBlue says it is relying on an existing partnership with Carbonfund.org, as well as the companies EcoAct and South Pole to reach its new goal.
Carbon offsets can mitigate emissions by effectively canceling out other emissions elsewhere.
The air carrier says it will support such things as solar and wind-powered electricity farms, capture of gas from landfill gas and forestry, among others, to offset an additional 15 billion to 17 billion pounds (7 million to 8 million metric tons) in emissions per year.
Critics have said some offset projects often fail to deliver the emissions reductions they promise, with forests marked for preservation in fact suffering deforestation while those who have purchased credits continue to pollute.
According to JetBlue, the carbon offset projects it selects are independently audited and verified, and are designed to avoid double-counting and over-estimation.