Setting the scene
Sustainability was high on the agenda of the second day of the World Air Transport Summit (WATS) in Doha. Following a conversation on Single Use Plastics, the focus shifted to offsetting, an important gap filler for the industry on the journey to Net Zero by 2050, as pledged by the industry.
Offsetting and Carbon Capture can contribute up to 19% of the emissions reductions needed in 2050. But this solution is often criticized by detractors and suffers from a lack of understanding from the public. “Offsets have a huge role to play in decarbonizing the industry, but they need to be effective, and the industry needs to be transparent about their use, costs and results” said Myles Allen, Director of Oxford Net Zero.
The history of carbon offsets has created the misconception that they are not “real” and have very limited efficiency, but this isn’t the case anymore. The industry needs to be more transparent in its efforts, especially on results achieved and availability, with clear goals short and medium term goals and regular updates along the way.
However, addressing the lack of understanding is critical for the industry, and so is the need to invest in a “varied portfolio” of offsets with a diversification of solutions which take into account technological advances. But, offsetting cannot be the only solution to decarbonize the sector, and emissions need to be tackled by a variety of solutions, including a much bigger uptake of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).