Delta Airlines will invest $1 bln to reduce carbon emissions

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Delta Airlines said Friday it plans to invest $1 billion over the next decade to reduce its emissions, the first major airline to make such a commitment.

“There’s no challenge we face that is in greater need of innovation than environmental sustainability, and we know there is no single solution,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in announcing the move.

The investment aims to reduce emissions across all of the US airline’s operations worldwide, starting in March and lasting for 10 years.

Delta says it will invest in technologies to reduce airline CO2 emissions and waste, though it does not specify if technologies like carbon capture and removal are among the innovations it will targeting.

The aviation industry accounts for about two percent of global carbon emissions, according to Delta.

As concern grows over climate change, air carriers are aiming to drastically reduce their carbon footprint and be carbon neutral from 2020 even as air travel is expected to increase sharply in the coming years.

Airlines have taken measures like cutting out single-use plastic items like packaging, utensils, straws and cutlery, while investing in biofuels.

They also are buying newer aircraft made of lighter materials and seen as more fuel efficient, and pushed for the development of single-engine aircraft, which they believe can reduce their emissions by between one and two percent a year.

Delta has been offering its customers carbon offsets for more than two years and is committed to voluntarily capping its own emissions at 2012 levels, while recycling the aluminum cans, plastic bottles and cups and paper waste it generates.

The United Nations recently announced that the decade between 2010 and 2019 was the warmest on record.

Under pressure from activists, many companies including Microsoft and BP, have made commitments to reduce their carbon footprint.

Major shareholders, such as the US asset management company BlackRock, have made similar promises.

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