The aviation sector must back efforts to remove carbon from the atmosphere, as sustainable fuels are still a long-term strategy, an Aito webinar heard.
David Hone, chief climate change advisor at Shell, highlighted how the “long journey” of developing sustainable fuels and manufacturing new aircraft was not quick enough to tackle the climate crisis.
Speaking at the Aito Climate Crisis Think Tank’s webinar on Thursday, he said: “We may well see, despite Herculean efforts, fossil fuel will remain in the sector for decades to come.
“It is not possible to go to alternative fuels straight away.”
He said removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is the strategy that tourism needs to embrace.
“The industry won’t wean itself off fossil fuels in the short term, so offsetting is key in the short term,” he told the webinar, which had more than 110 attendees.
He said natural strategies, such as planting trees, was fine for the short term but artificial methods – such as better carbon removal technology – are needed in the longer term.
Hone highlighted Tomorrow’s Air, the world’s first collective of travellers and travel companies “who clean up carbon from the atmosphere to ensure our air for future generations”.
It is supported by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, to campaign for innovation to remove carbon from the atmosphere and permanently store it.
Lars Andersen Resare, head of sustainability at Scandinavian Airlines, also spoke to delegates about the issues of sustainable fuels and net zero emissions.
SAS to reduce total carbon emissions by 25% by 2025, by using more sustainable aviation fuel and a fleet with fuel-efficient aircraft.
“We have a huge amount of new technology coming in that helps us to get towards the target,” he told the webinar – but pointed out that sustainable fuel is currently “very expensive”.
The webinar also announced that the Aito Climate Crisis Think Tank (ACT) had created two tool kits for members, to help them tackle global heating and address sustainability issues in the workplace.