JetBlue Will Carbon Offset All Domestic Flights, Prepares For “New Climate Reality”

Filed Under: JetBlue

Airlines are increasingly talking about the environment. Who knows whether it’s because they actually care, or whether it’s because they think it’s what they need to talk about. Regardless, it’s a step in the right direction.

While airlines have long given customers the option to offset their travels, some airlines are taking it a step further. For example, in the past few months we’ve seen some airlines announce major carbon offset schemes. To give a few examples, Air France and British Airways will be carbon offsetting all domestic flights, while EasyJet will be carbon offsetting all flights period.

Now a US airline is joining the club, in what they describe as “preparing [their business] for a new climate reality.”

JetBlue carbon offsetting all domestic flights

JetBlue has announced that they’ll carbon offset all of their domestic flights as of July 2020, making them the first major US airline to do so. To do this, JetBlue will partner with carbonfund.org, a US nonprofit carbon reduction and climate solutions organization.

JetBlue says that since 2008 they’ve already offset more than 2.6 billion pounds of CO2 emissions.

This expansion is expected to offset an additional 15-17 billion pounds of emissions per year. They describe this as the equivalent of removing more than 1.5 million passenger vehicles from the road.

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes, said the following:

“The airline industry is one of the few industries that has collectively committed to an international emissions reduction goal. Air travel brings so much good to the world and JetBlue has always been about making our essential industry better. Carbon offsetting is a bridge to, not a silver bullet for, a lower carbon future. Reducing and mitigating our greenhouse gas emissions is a fundamental aspect of our business plan and our mission to inspire humanity.”

JetBlue choosing specific carbon offset programs

JetBlue isn’t just throwing money at carbon credits, but rather the airline is being purposeful about the ways in which they’re offsetting flying, which I appreciate. They’ve selected projects around the globe that will offset the use of jet fuel, including in less economically developed countries, where a bigger community impact can be made.

As they describe it, the airline will support carbon offset projects focused on but not limited to:

  • Forestry: Forest conservation projects prevent deforestation by helping voluntarily forego plans that would have converted forests for other purposes, thereby sequestering CO2 emissions from the atmosphere in trees and soil while having additional co-benefits for communities and local wildlife.
  • Landfill Gas Capture (LFG): Landfill gas is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic material in landfills. Instead of escaping into the air, LFG can be captured, converted and used as a renewable energy resource. In addition, LFG energy projects generate revenue and create jobs in the local community and beyond.
  • Solar/Wind: These projects develop expansive solar and wind farms, generating power that otherwise would have been supplied by fossil fuels like coal, diesel and furnace oil. These projects also create jobs and revenues for local communities.

JetBlue will fly with sustainable aviation fuel

JetBlue says that carbon offsetting is a bridge to other industry-wide environmental improvements. JetBlue has said that starting in 2020 they’ll start purchasing sustainable aviation fuel for flights out of San Francisco from Neste, the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel, and a pioneer in renewable jet fuel.

This is produced exclusively from waste and residue raw materials, and the fuel should lead to an 80% smaller carbon footprint compared to fossil jet fuel.

Modern planes & ATC modernization help as well

Beyond carbon offsetting and using sustainable fuel, the airline points out other ways they’re trying to reduce emissions.

For one, they’re getting more fuel efficient aircraft, including 85 new A321neos, which improve fuel efficiency by about 20%.

They’re also getting 70 A220s to replace older aircraft, which reduce per seat emissions by about 40%.

JetBlue Airbus A220 rendering

On top of that, JetBlue is advocating for a more efficient ATC system. JetBlue claims that ATC inefficiencies account for as much as 12% of fuel burn.

Bottom line

Kudos to JetBlue for their thoughtful plans for addressing the environment. This goes beyond just throwing money at a carbon offset scheme, but rather they’re being deliberate about which programs they choose, and they’re even using sustainable aviation fuel.

I’ll be curious to see if/when the “big three” US carriers follow JetBlue’s lead.

Comments
  1. Surprisingly bold from JB. I would’ve imagined they would carbon capture intl flights, since that makes up a smaller part of their biz (BA for example carbon captures domestic flights, which is a TINY part of their ops).

  2. Hi,

    Last line – should be “JetBlue” not “Delta”

    Also, is thr TL;DR = higher ticket costs? Serious question.

  3. Excellent start!

    I’ll favor JetBlue in the future for this.

    Let’s hope we see some similar action from other airlines.

    Aviation’s impact is very large, but there are plenty of concrete steps that can be taken now to make it less impactful (and make Greenland and the Maldives still worth visiting in 20 years). More technologic investment is also needed by aircraft manufacturers.

  4. Hi Ben. I think you meant follow Jet Blue’s lead

    “I’ll be curious to see if/when the “big three” US carriers follow Delta’s lead”

  5. I’m all for this, but I also think the airline industry is taking way too much flack for this. There are many other industries that polute much more. Look at the meat industry…

  6. Im still dubious of these carbon offset schemes, but I do appreciate that JetBlue is attempting to be transparent about where the money is actually going. Definitely a step in the right direction.

  7. @WP, that was most first thought as well. BA’s move, while better than nothing, still seemed like a very minor change for good publicity. What JB is doing is a lot more substantive and good on them for it.

  8. This is really remarkable, given the size of domestic traffic in the US/in the JetBlue network. If some European carriers (e.g. AF, BA) are doing the same, it is of course also welcome, but their domestic network is very small in comparison to JetBlue. Kudos.

  9. This is so much BS, buying carbon offsets.

    It is sensible to buy more efficient planes and use the biodiesel fuel from waste.

    But carbon offsets are just a ‘feel-good’ PR move to appease libtards.

    Imagine if we totally eliminate carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? No more plant life!!

  10. This is a topic that triggers some people who likely didn’t do so well in high school science, so to save them from writing dumb comments.

    1. No the point isn’t to eliminate all CO2 from the atmosphere but rather bring it back from the exponential increases. Nobody, literally nobody is actually arguing that.

    2. No it’s not a hoax, the scientific community is at pretty much a near unanimous consensus.

    3. You’re not a scientist. Neither is Sean Hannity. Neither is Rick Perry.

    4. Chemtrails are not a thing.

    5. The scientific community doesn’t have an ulterior motive. The people spewing anti-scientific “this is a hoax manufactured by the liberal agenda” BS usually do as they’re tied in with a lobby that profits from this. Repeating it makes you look stupid.

    6. The earth is not flat.

  11. Wonder what the cost differential is between the regular jet fuel and the sustainable fuel?
    Wonder how much of this will be passed along to consumers?

  12. At least they are starting to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). This is imho the ONLY effective measure that airlines can take. All these other bullshit CO2-offset programs are just bullshit.

  13. @Alpha

    Comment of the year already. Well done, sir. Thank you for reducing the stupid or at least trying.

  14. @Alpha
    Some good stuff there, couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Good for Jetblue, hopefully more airlines will follow their lead.

  15. “preparing [their business] for a new climate reality.”

    I believe the word they’re looking for is “fantasy”.

  16. Thanks @Alpha

    I remember going to Rajasthan few years ago and talking to my local guide. He was telling me when he was young, his village didn’t get this hot. But these days, during summer, temperature routinely rise to high 40s C and sometimes even 50s C!!

    I also noticed the high temperature from my childhood city these days in the summer and remembering when I was young, it was never this hot.

    Given crazy weather we have these days in Eastern Australia to wine country of Napa down to Los Angeles in California, I say good for JetBlue for starting something no matter how small.

  17. Offsetting works with some caveats. Firstly the offsets have to be verifiable and sadly there are some dodgy offsetting schemes out there. Secondly offsetting has to deliver additional reductions, i.e. carbon reductions that wouldn’t have happened without the offsets. In an ideal world offsets would be hard to come by because we’d all be doing as much as we could to avert catastrophe, sadly we are not and there is plenty of additional carbon reduction capacity, so it is good that jet blue is buying into that although I’d still buy a few additional tonnes personally because I’m not convinced that every tonne bought equals a tonne of reduction. (Plus $10/tonne on gold standard credits seems crazy low for abatement)

  18. @James N what settles it is actual SCIENTISTS saying it. What his tour guide said is affirming and providing a real example to what the SCIENTISTS say.

    Bloody Trumpsters, believing politicians who are in the pockets of oil companies over SCIENTISTS who are trained and educated, and know a hell of a lot more about this stuff than some old rich white guy who just wants to get richer.

  19. @Ben

    Did not see you mention it, but Scandinavian Airlines offset all SK flights taken by members of their Eurobonus FFP.

  20. “@James N what settles it is actual SCIENTISTS saying it.”

    No, what “settles it “ is facts and scientific evidence, which they don’t have. Otherwise, there wouldn’t still be a debate about global warming, oops, I mean climate change, strike that….climate crisis being caused by man.

  21. The earth has been going through warming and cooling cycles for billions of years most likely caused by the small shifts in the earth’s axis, ocean currents, sun spot activity etc. To take the small length of time 100-150 years the so called scientists say there data comes from and say a certain particular thing ie. man is causing current possible climate change time is laughable. It is nothing more than about controlling people’s behavior to a certain ideology and limiting future growth and production.

  22. @Chris P,
    But it’s within the last few hundred years we had significant advancement in technology, population growth, and increase in life expectancy. Using geological scale (which I agree with you is important) to make light of what impact humans have on the environment does not do it justice and it’s irresponsible.

  23. BA have announced plans to build a biofuel plant in the UK but nobody seems to mention that. I get the feeling easyJet are only carbon offsetting to look good, it’s brand image not long term. They haven’t said anything about using biofuels which is why I trust BA and JetBlue more as they seem to have long term plans in order

  24. Climate change is not a debate. It is proven and globally accepted by the scientific community, as well as educated and smart individuals. Good on JetBlue for a small step in what is the right direction.

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