Microsoft to Cut Down Pollution from its Employees’ Flights
Microsoft is taking huge steps to slash carbon dioxide emissions. Just recently, the company announced its new effort to lessen pollution from some of their employees’ flights.
The tech giant is planning to purchase credits for sustainable airplane fuel to cover commercial flight routes frequented by its professionals during business trips. Microsoft is said to buy credits from SkyNRG, a Dutch company. SkyNRG will then provide cleaner aviation fuel to Alaska Airlines. These less-polluting flights will be executed by Alaska Airlines for travel between Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco International airports, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (this is near Microsoft’s corporate headquarters).
The aviation fuel SkyNRG provides will be made in the United States using plant oils and used cooking oil. According to SkyNRG, this kind of fuel could emit 75% fewer carbon dioxide emissions compared to kerosene-based, traditional jet fuel.
This initiative is Microsoft’s latest effort to address their own greenhouse gas emissions. Back in January 2020, it pledged to eliminate more planet-heating carbon dioxide by 2030. Furthermore, the company said that by 2050, it will draw down the emissions it’s ever released since its establishment.
Though, despite their announcement, the technology required to capture huge amounts of CO2 doesn’t exist yet. At present, the best way to avert climate change is to lessen pollution. That equates to using cleaner fuels and taking lesser flights.
Judson Althoff, Microsoft’s executive VP for worldwide commercial business, said in a statement that hopefully, their sustainable aviation fuel model will be utilized by more businesses as an approach to lessen environmental effects on business travels.
As per a company factsheet from the 2019 fiscal year, business travel accounted for around 3% of Microsoft’s carbon footprint. That amount of pollution equates to 392,557 metric tons of carbon dioxide. This is approximately the same amount 84,809 passenger cars might produce in one year.
While it’s a small part of Microsoft’s overall emissions, pollution from its business travel has increased steadily since the year 2017.
Until the coronavirus pandemic stopped millions of flights this year, aviation was one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. If the aviation industry is a country, it will be considered as one of the top carbon polluters in the entire world.
The pandemic swept through international and domestic travel this year, leading to a 47% drop in emissions from the aviation sector for 2020’s first seven months. Microsoft says that it is allowing some of its staff members to travel, but only for critical sales and services.
Lessening flights is still the most efficient approach to reduce emissions. This is the reason why frequent fliers like Microsoft are searching for alternatives. For now, it’s still impossible for batteries to power electrified, huge commercial planes. This leaves cleaner-burning fuels the best options to lessen flight pollution.
Back in 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization estimated that if sustainable fuel powers each international flight by around 2050, it’s possible to slash emissions by 63%. Microsoft’s initiative is one little step closer to that direction.
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