Airlines Commit to Cutting Carbon Emissions in Half By 2050

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Photo By Zoagli/Courtesy Flickr
The International Air Transport Association commits to going green.

The airline industry made a green move when the International Air Transport Association (IATA) pledged to cut airlines’ carbon emissions in half by 2050.

With a roundtrip flight between New York and Los Angeles creating about three tons of CO2 per passenger, the industry’s move will greatly benefit the environment.

At the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) High Level Meeting in Montreal the airline industry committed to three environmental goals:

1) Improve fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5 percent annually by 2020

2) Stabilize emissions from 2020 with carbon-neutral growth

3) Reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050 (compared to 2005)

The IATA, which represents 230 airlines or about 93 percent of international air traffic, asked governments to work with the airline industry to achieve these goals. The IATA asked governments to account for aviation’s emissions globally (rather than by state), to keep aviation accountable for its emissions, and to give aviation access to global carbon markets to offset emissions.

The IATA will evaluate the progress towards these goals at the next ICAO meeting in September 2010.

More about eco-friendly travel

• The Trees for Travel program plants trees to offset carbon emissions caused by transportation. Every dollar donated will plant 10 carbon dioxide-absorbing trees. Find out how to donate.

• Feel guilty about flying? Some airlines and travel companies offer travelers the opportunity to donate to programs to offset greenhouse gases emitted by their travel.

• Want to hit the road? Find out the most eco-friendly transportation options.