Major global airlines launch new Aviation Climate Taskforce
Global airline leaders, including Air Canada, Air France-KLM, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Southwest Airlines Co., United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic, together with Boston Consulting Group, announced Oct. 28 the formation of the Aviation Climate Taskforce—a new nonprofit organization founded to accelerate breakthroughs in emerging technologies to decarbonize aviation.
While aviation currently only contributes around 2 to 3 percent on average of global carbon dioxide emissions annually, the number could rise to 20 percent by 2050 if no action is taken. Aviation is a hard-to-abate sector where dramatically reducing emissions is challenging, and breakthrough innovations are required to help the sector reach net zero.
ACT will stimulate innovation in the next generation of technologies. The majority of its focus will be on critical medium-term solutions, such as synthetic fuel and direct air capture. Over time, the portfolio will expand to include more near-term solutions, such as emerging biobased sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) pathways, as well as long-term solutions, such as hydrogen technologies. ACT’s mission will be supported by two pillars: an innovation network and a collaboration forum.
ACT’s innovation network will accelerate technological breakthroughs by focusing on early-stage research. ACT will use proven tools to map the vast amount of research across the ecosystem. With a clear view of the existing networks of innovations available, ACT will provide grant funding and host innovation challenges in order to stimulate new patterns of collaboration and research.
The collaboration forum will support the innovation network by identifying other ways to jointly reduce carbon emissions, such as expediting the adoption and scale-up of next-generation technologies through engagement with experts and thought leaders.
In the future, ACT intends to launch an investment fund, in which members and other third parties may participate. The investment fund will provide capital to rapidly scale-up emerging technologies that have the potential to dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of air travel.
Over the course of its first year, ACT will concentrate on selecting focus areas within these technologies and setting up the innovation network. ACT will welcome additional airlines and participants from across the aviation sector, and more information can be found on its website. ACT will be sharing further details in the coming months.
ACT and its founding members would like to acknowledge the support and assistance of the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP in developing ACT’s legal and constitutional framework.