EasyJet today announced that as of today all of its flights will be carbon neutral. EasyJet has a total of 331 airplanes and will become the first major airline in the world to operate a fleet that is fully net-zero carbon. What this means a little more specifically is that EasyJet will have balanced all of its carbon emissions via carbon removal efforts.
Furthermore, this is an “interim measure,” as EasyJet plans to go beyond this in the future. “We will continue the push to reinvent aviation for the long-term, including the development of sustainable fuel and electric flying,” EasyJet writes.
The airline expects to spend £25 million ($32.4 million) over the next year compensating for every tonne of CO2 emitted from fuel used for EasyJet flights. The goal is to make sure there is one tonne less in the atmosphere to counter the added tonne. EasyJet will either reduce CO2 by physically removing it from the air (planting more trees) or by avoiding the release of more CO2 (for example, by installing wind or solar power plants).
“And finally I am proud that we have announced that from today we will be the world’s first major airline to operate net-zero carbon flights across our whole network. We are doing this by offsetting the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of our flights. We recognise that offsetting is only an interim measure, but we want to take action on our carbon emissions now. easyJet has a long tradition of efficient flying – the aircraft we fly and the way we fly them means that easyJet is already more efficient than many airlines. However, our priority is to continue to work on reducing our carbon footprint in the short term, coupled with long-term work to support the development of new technology, including electric planes, to reinvent aviation for the long-term.”
The airline has also begun selecting carbon offset programs that meet either the Gold standard or Verified Carbon Standards — both are known for having high standards of carbon offsetting. EasyJet has partnered with Climate Focus to help choose the projects that will offset carbon emissions. Climate Focus, an international advisory company, is committed to the development of policies and programs that “mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.”
EasyJet wants to also support innovative technology and, in a sense, become like Tesla, but for the skies. They will support the development of hybrid and electric planes while working with others in the industry to reinvent aviation and help European airlines become net-zero carbon. Another partner, Airbus, has signed on to perform joint research of opportunities and challenges to bringing hybrid and electric aircraft to market for short-haul flights in Europe.
EasyJet: Tesla of the Skies?
Even though EasyJet isn’t making actual airplanes, its goals are now very similar to Tesla’s when it comes to sustainability. It is well known that Elon Musk and JB Straubel, another Tesla cofounder and the company’s longtime CTO until recently, initially met to discuss electric airplanes. Perhaps Tesla and Elon Musk can help EasyJet as well, or maybe help another airline that would want to follow EasyJet’s lead. Being the world’s first airline to become completely carbon neutral is a good thing, and I think we will continue to see innovation in the skies just as we have seen on the ground.