Planemaker Airbus Unveils Emissions Data Amid Climate Pressure

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European planemaker Airbus on Friday joined a growing list of companies outlining the environmental impact of their products, as aviation aims to reshape itself after the coronavirus crisis.

Major companies are under increasing pressure from investors and climate change activists to report the emissions that result when customers use their products, known as “Scope 3”.

Airbus says it is the first planemaker to do so.

It says it is driving aerospace toward zero-emission flying with plans for a commercial aircraft powered by hydrogen by 2035, which it reaffirmed on Friday.

But environmentalist groups say that flying itself needs to be curbed to have a meaningful impact on climate change.

Airbus estimated lifetime emissions for jets built in two dramatically different years: 2019, which saw record deliveries on the back of an order boom, and 2020, whose pandemic sent aviation into crisis and forced Airbus to slash output by 40%.

For the 863 jets it delivered in 2019, Airbus estimated lifetime emissions of 740 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent based on an average aircraft lifespan of 22 years. That includes 130 million related to the production of fuel burned in flight.

In 2020, it delivered 566 aircraft with estimated lifetime emissions of 440 million tonnes, including 80 million for fuel.

Airbus also published carbon intensity data suggesting an “average efficiency” of 66.6 grammes of CO2e per passenger-kilometre in 2019, improving to 63.5g in 2020.

A senior Airbus official said the data included conservative assumptions for synthetic fuels, whose use is expected to grow.

Intensity-based targets measure greenhouse emissions relative to industrial output, meaning absolute emissions can rise even if the headline intensity figure falls.

-Reuters

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