The Qantas Group has said it will aim to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in a major expansion of the airline’s commitment to a more sustainable aviation industry.
With actions starting from today, the national carrier will double the number of flights being offset and cap net emissions from next year onwards.
The Australian flag-carrier will invest $50 million over ten years to help develop a sustainable aviation fuel industry.
The announcement means that Qantas is the only airline group to commit to cap its net emissions at 2020 levels, and the second to commit to net zero emissions by 2050.
In total, these commitments are the most ambitious carbon emissions targets of any airline group globally.
Qantas Group chief executive, Alan Joyce, said these commitments would make the airline a leader in the aviation industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
“We recognise that airlines have a responsibility to cut emissions and combat climate change.
“We’ve already made some good progress, especially by investing in newer aircraft that have a much smaller carbon footprint,” he explained.
“We want to do more, and faster.
“We’re effectively doubling our carbon offsetting program from today and we’re capping our net emissions across Qantas and Jetstar from 2020 so that all new flying will be carbon neutral.”
Qantas, Jetstar, QantasLink and Qantas Freight will offset all growth in emissions from domestic and international operations from 2020.
This includes offsetting all net emissions from Project Sunrise, the carrier’s plan to operate non-stop flights from the east coast of Australia to London and New York, should the project proceed.
This will also extend to domestic flying, meaning that growth on key routes like Melbourne-Sydney will be carbon neutral.
The aviation industry, which contributes around two-four per cent of global CO2 emissions, has committed to halving emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.
It was the first industry to make such commitments. Qantas had signed up to those commitments but will now exceed them.
Qantas will work with industry, research institutions and governments to develop the long-term solutions to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation industry over the next three decades.
“Qantas offsets all of its own travel needs and so do many of our customers.
“By matching their efforts, we’re hoping it will encourage even more people to offset and the program will keep growing.
“These short-term actions will go towards a longer-term goal of being completely net carbon neutral by 2050.
“It’s ambitious, but achievable.”