ESG – United Airlines makes significant carbon sequestration Joint Venture investment – with a goal to be 100% carbon neutral by 2050

Carbon SequestrationUnited Airlines announced earlier today, Thursday, December 10, 2020 that it is making a “multi-million dollar investment” into carbon capture and sequestration technology, a move they say will help them reach a goal of 100% carbon-free by 2050.

United said it is developing the carbon sequestration technology through a joint venture  with Occidental and Rusheen Capital Management.

Known as “direct air capture,” the technology is intended to capture carbon dioxide from the air and, thereafter, store it underground.

“As the leader of one of the world’s largest airlines, I recognize our responsibility in contributing to fight climate change, as well as our responsibility to solve it,” reads a statement from United Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby.

Per NJ Biz, United is one of the largest employers in New Jersey, and uses Newark Liberty International Airport as one of its major hubs. Their air traffic makes up close to 70% of the flights in and out of the airport.

Airlines typically account for approximately 3% of worldwide carbon emission, even with the significantly reduced COVID-19 pandemic impacted travel. 

If airlines were all aggregated together and compared to countries internationally, they would place 6th out of all countries in the world in terms of negative emissions impact.  Moreover, while aircraft have become much more fuel efficient since the 1970’s, they have significantly increased their collective emissions – increasing by 70% the amount of carbon emissions from 2005 to 2020.

The Murphy administration’s announced goal is to move NJ towards a 100% clean and renewable sourcing of energy by 2050, including solar and offshore wind capacity.

Duane Morris has an active Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Team to help clients and NGOs, respond to, and evaluate ESG, sustainability, energy efficiency and climate change risks, regulations and mandates as well as counsels on how to structure investments in various verticals that are creating technology that responds to the issues posed by Climate Change and ESG.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Seth Cooley, David Amerikaner or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.