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Aeronautics | 08. June 2021 | posted by Florian Wozny

Climate-neutral flight through carbon dioxide offsets – an interim solution

Flugzeug am Himmel
Credit: DLR/Alejandro Morellon (CC-BY 3.0)
More environmentally friendly air transport of the future – interim goal of climate-neutral flight

Since 2021, airlines have had to offset emissions on international flights that exceed the average values for 2019. This is done with the help of carbon dioxide compensation projects that invest in renewable energy sources or the preservation of forests, for example – that is, reduce or store greenhouse gas emissions. Credits are then issued for these projects. However, the climate impact of the credits depends strongly on the underlying project types. In a new DLR discussion paper, my team and I show the limits of mandatory offsetting.

Rising fuel prices have already led to airlines investing in technological advancements, as fuel accounts for approximately one third of total operating costs. For example, engines and combustion processes have been improved over the years. Fuel consumption is falling by about two percent per year. However, the environmental benefits have been offset by the enormous increase in air traffic. Policy-makers are faced with a dilemma. read more