US airlines and Amazon join push to reduce aircraft emissions

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Major U.S. airlines and Amazon.com's aviation unit are joining an effort to speed development and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to decrease emissions in air transport.

The Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA) said Amazon Air, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, and United Airlines are joining the effort, which includes major corporate airline customers, to help drive greater SAF production, price cuts and technological advancements.

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The Environmental Defense Fund and the Rocky Mountain Institute launched the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA) in April with companies including Boeing, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, and Netflix to support increased market demand for SAFs.

On Tuesday, the United States said it was setting a goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. aviation sector by 2050.

The White House said in September it was targeting 20% lower aviation emissions by 2030. Major U.S. airlines backed a voluntary industry target of 3 billion gallons of SAF use in 2030.

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"By working together with other companies, we are demonstrating there is strong and growing demand for the rapid deployment of cost-effective sustainable aviation fuels, which will help Amazon meet our commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040," said Sarah Rhoads, vice president of Amazon Global Air.

Ben Minicucci, CEO of Alaska Airlines, said the new "Aviators Group" within SABA is "focused on tangible steps, at scale, to accelerate progress."

SABA also said Facebook parent Meta and LiveNation are joining.

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"Making sustainable travel a reality will require extensive investment in low-carbon technologies such as sustainable aviation fuel by our entire industry," said United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby.

At the climate talks in Glasgow, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will represent the United States as a coalition of countries led by Britain are expected to announce the "International Aviation Climate Ambition Declaration," Reuters reported, citing sources.

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Nearly 2.5% of global emissions are a result of air travel. Despite demand to reduce emissions, there is very little SAF in use.

(Reporting by David Shepardson. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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