Addressing Airline Emissions Through Cost-Effective Self-Regulation

Oct 28, 2019 10:30 AM ET

As featured in JetBlue’s 2018 Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Report

The airline industry is reliant on liquid hydrocarbons and is therefore a greenhouse gas contributor. JetBlue recognizes the social impact, international political inevitability of a price on CO2e emissions, and the risks posed by a patchwork of greenhouse gas regulations around the world. Along with the aviation sector, JetBlue supported the successful execution by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO, a United Nations agency) of a single, proactive emissions reduction scheme that would cover international flying for 192 nation states.* JetBlue and its U.S.-based trade association, Airlines for America (A4A), then worked with the FAA to support the successful implementation of reporting to this one scheme. A single common regulation over aviation CO2e emissions globally allows JetBlue to proactively predict and possibly reduce emissions to reduce cost exposure.

This new regulation is called CORSIA: the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. CORSIA made aviation the first industry to come together and collectively agree to a voluntary price on CO2e emissions through a market-based measure, rather than a tax.

This market-based measure allows an airline to use “carbon offsets” to create its own purchasing and pricing strategy to address this regulation, paying the cost into the market rather than to a government body. In exchange, all countries have agreed to exclude international flying from any current or theoretical CO2e emissions tax. Financial analysis of this voluntary measure versus CO2e taxes proposed by various governments shows CORSIA to be the most cost-effective way for airlines to address emissions from flying.

The airline industry is one of the few industries with a global emissions reduction goal. JetBlue and the international aviation industry will affordably achieve carbon-neutral international growth from 2020 on, as promised to governments, NGOs, and customers around the world.

Learn more about JetBlue's commitment to create industry-leading environmental social governance (ESG) strategies, programs, and disclosure reports in our 2018 Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Report

*. “Member States,” ICAO, 2019.