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Flying Towards a Greener Future

On Earth Day we’re all reminded just how important it is for everyone to do their part to create a cleaner, greener future. It’s a mission that America’s airlines are fulfilling every day of the year. A comprehensive approach is needed to address climate issues, and airlines have set an ambitious and innovative course so we can be a big part of that future.

We know that actions speak louder than words. That’s why we’ve taken on leadership roles in the development and deployment of sustainable alternative fuels and invested billions in new technologies and aircraft to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

These efforts have led airlines to improve fuel efficiency more than 125 percent since 1978. That amounts to 4.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide we’ve eliminated – equivalent to taking about 25 million cars off the road every year. All this has happened even as more people are choosing to fly.

As an industry we recognize that our progress isn’t just good for the environment, it’s also good for business. Our customers expect airlines to do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint, which is why we choose to tackle these issues head on. In 2016, working with the U.S. government and our global partners, we enacted two historic agreements to support the goal of achieving carbon neutral growth in international aviation by 2021. We’re also working towards an even more aspirational goal of achieving a 50 percent net reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

The continued effort by U.S. airlines to drive advances in technology, infrastructure, operations and sustainable alternative fuels is the most important component to responsibly and effectively limiting our fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and potential climate change impacts.

We know we’re not the only ones who take this issue seriously. We’re committed to working with Congress to ensure that U.S. aviation can maintain our position as a global leader in all aspects of aviation, including efforts to be greener. We’re also mindful of the critical role our industry plays in driving our economy. We don’t need a government mandate to keep us on course. Our industry knows we need to face these challenges directly, and we will continue to work towards a more environmentally-friendly future.

U.S. airlines are proud of the progress we’ve made and our commitment to create a greener tomorrow. Our industry will continue to be an engine that drives both our economy and our progress towards a more environmentally friendly future.

This post was written by Nancy Young, Vice President for Environmental Affairs at Airlines for America.

To learn more about U.S. airlines strong environmental record, click here to read Nancy Young’s testimony before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

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