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19 Nov, 2019 14:41

Greta get ready! EasyJet aims to become first major airline to operate net-zero carbon flights

Greta get ready! EasyJet aims to become first major airline to operate net-zero carbon flights

UK budget airline EasyJet wants to offset carbon emissions for every single flight, promising that its “green” efforts will have no impact on the passengers’ pockets.

The carrier announced its plans in a statement on Tuesday, adding that it has already started to act to offset carbon emissions. The decision would cost the company about $32.4 million (£25 million) a year. The money will be spent on certain projects which “physically remove CO2 from the air,” including planting new trees, protecting against deforestation, as well as initiatives on solar and wind power.

Thus EasyJet wants to make sure that the projects help to take carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, in exchange for those generated by its planes.

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“We acknowledge that offsetting is only an interim measure until other technologies become available to radically reduce the carbon emissions of flying, but we want to take action on carbon now,” said EasyJet’s CEO Johan Lundgren.

The low-cost airline also promised that nothing would change for its clients, including the ticket costs and the performance of the aircraft.

Together with the ambitious green announcement, EasyJet presented its full-year financial results. It reported headline profit before tax for the year of £427 million (around $552.5 million). Despite the full-year profit higher than expected, it is 26 percent lower than last year due to higher fuel costs.

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Air carriers have been facing mounting pressure to cut their carbon emissions. Some groups have even called on the public to stop flying completely to mitigate the impact of air travel on the environment.

The idea was further championed by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old girl from Sweden who made headlines with her controversial environmental activism. In September, Thunberg had to get to the US to deliver her famous speech at the UN Climate Action Summit. However, she refused to fly in an airplane because of carbon footprint. So she arrived in New York in an emissions-free yacht to attend the event. After visiting the US, she then had to ask for help to return to Europe the same way.

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