Investors urge airlines to curtail growth, use sustainable fuel

Source: By Simon Jessop, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, March 10, 2022

A worker fills an Airbus jet with aviation fuel at Fuhlsbuettel airport in Hamburg

LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) – The aviation industry needs to take “urgent action” to align with the world’s climate goal, including curtailing growth in air travel and rapidly scaling up use of sustainable aviation fuels, a report on Thursday said.

Climate Action 100+, the world’s largest grouping of investors pushing for corporates to move faster on cutting emissions, said the actions were needed to help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial norms.

CA100+ said it was updating its views on the sector in light of a major report from the International Energy Agency last year which suggested deep cuts in fossil fuel use would be needed to reach the mid-century target.

The CA100+ report is expected to inform discussions with company management by its 615 members, which collectively manage more than $65 trillion in assets, ahead of the next season for annual general meetings.

On sustainable aviation fuel, the report highlights the need for a “substantial” increase between now and 2030, citing the IEA’s analysis that 16% will need to come from advanced biofuels and 2% from synthetic fuels. In 2020, use was below 0.1%.

In addition, CA100+ said business travel and long-haul leisure flights needed to be capped at 2019 levels and demand shifted to high-speed rail, where possible, in order to keep emissions at half their projected 2050 level.

Aviation firms also needed to cut their own emissions rather than use carbon offsets to compensate for them, it said.

“The industry holds its future in its own hands,” said Ben Pincombe, Head of Stewardship for Climate Change at the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, the organisation leading the Climate Action 100+ Aviation Sector Strategy.

“If the sector fails to respond effectively, it is likely to face significant and rapid regulatory tightening, and ever greater scrutiny and challenge from capital markets.”

Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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