Offsetting to make up 20% of airline’s net zero strategies

This could see the availability of high-quality offsetting schemes drop significantly

Net Hero Podcast

Airlines achieving net zero by 2050 is 20% reliant on carbon offsetting schemes.

That’s according to research by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which has revealed that this will start to put heavy stress on the demands for high-quality offsets – as more airlines look to tick boxes.

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) comprises 65% of the industry’s net zero aims, with new technologies making up 13% and 3% consisting of operational changes.

The IATA estimates that this 20% of carbon offsetting measures will be represented by 21 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.

As the number of people taking flights is set to jump from two billion annual passengers globally today to 10 billion by 2050, SAF will not be produced quickly enough to keep up with demand, the report warns.

However, as more offsetting measures are taken by these companies for such high levels of carbon, the availability of accountable schemes will be drastically lowered.

This will see many companies resort to offsetting measures that are of a lower quality and less impactful in protecting the environment.

The short term is seen as the key for offsetting, with 97% of operational decarbonisation set to be based on offsetting in 2025, with a gradual decrease over time.

The IATA report states: “The industry plan for net zero foresees a rapid decline in the use of offsets as in-sector solutions take over.

“If it proves impossible to completely eliminate emissions at source, however, the industry is committed to mitigating the remaining emissions using offsetting mechanisms, including carbon capture technologies.”