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United Airlines Will Invest in Carbon Capture En Route to Net Zero Emissions

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United Airlines Will Invest in Carbon Capture En Route to Net Zero Emissions
United Airlines Boeing 737 takes off from Los Angeles international Airport on November 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images

United Airlines is seeking to reduce its net greenhouse gas pollution by investing in carbon capture and sequestration instead of merely buying carbon offsets.


"Traditional carbon offsets do almost nothing to tackle the emissions from flying. And, more importantly, they simply don't meet the scale of this global challenge," United CEO Scott Kirby wrote.

United will partner with 1PointFive, a carbon capture firm founded last year by a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum and Rusheen Capital Management.

The carbon capture plants, each about 100 acres, will use direct air carbon capture to pull 1 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere, equivalent to the amount of carbon captured by more than 40 million trees.

Aviation is among the hardest sectors to decarbonize: Battery- and solar-powered aviation technology is nowhere near ready to make a dent in the market, and lower-impact biofuels are limited both by production constraints and plane's fuel mixture requirements.

For a deeper dive:

United: Washington Post; Direct air carbon capture: Huff Post

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