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Monday,  May 20, 2024 8:13 AM 

Airlines call on Ottawa to introduce sustainable fuel production in Canada

  • Air
  •   02-05-2024  8:16 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Airlines call on Ottawa to introduce sustainable fuel production in Canada
(Unsplash/file photo)
Pax Global Media

Canadian airlines are calling on Ottawa to introduce measures that will lead to the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in Canada.

The Canadian Council for Sustainable Aviation Fuels and the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) are leading the charge, putting pressure on the federal government to match programs in the United States that help reduce airplane pollution, which accounts for about two per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

Canada has yet to commercially produce any SAF, which is derived from used cooking oils, animal fats or organic waste.

The greener fuel reportedly cuts about 80 per cent of an airplane’s emissions.

READ MORE: Air travel recovery is continuing, but gov’ts must invest in clean fuel, IATA says

“Despite ongoing efforts to decarbonize, access to a domestic supply of SAF is the most critical element required to help Canada meet its climate goals. Canada’s airlines stand ready to work with the federal government to ensure Canadian SAF production becomes a reality,” wrote the NACC on the social media platform X on Friday (Feb. 2).

The NACC’s membership base includes Air Canada, Jazz, Air Transat and WestJet.

According to the Canadian Press, airlines have two requests to foster long-term production of SAF: an investment tax credit at a rate of 50 per cent on manufacturing facilities, and a production tax credit with a 10-year horizon.

In comparison, U.S.-based SAF producers are eligible for a tax credit of up to US$1.75 per gallon (3.8 litres) under the Inflation Reduction Act.

The two groups are also asking for a “book-and-claim system,” whereby producers enter or “book” the fuel they’ve distilled and customers “claim” the product they’ve bought, receiving a certificate to be used in corporate emissions reporting and for tax purposes, CP reports.

IATA calls for strategic approach

The conversation aligns with recent concerns raised by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

In a Jan. 31 news release, the association noted how aviation’s post-COVID recovery in December was just 2.5 per cent below 2019 levels.

However, in order to maximize the benefits of air travel in a post-COVID world, “governments need to take a strategic approach” in protecting the environment, stated Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.

“That means providing cost-efficient infrastructure to meet demand, incentivizing Sustainable Aviation Fuel production to meet our net zero carbon emission goal by 2050, and adopting regulations that deliver a clear cost-benefit,” he said.

“Completing the recovery must not be an excuse for governments to forget the critical role of aviation to increasing the prosperity and well-being of people and businesses the world over.”

Aviation’s push to connect the world “must not come at the expense of our environment,” he added.

“The industry’s goal to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 remains steadfast,” Walsh said. “To accelerate the transition, we need governments and fuel suppliers to step up and do more.”

He says IATA saw a strong increase in the use of SAF in 2023 – but SAF is still only three per cent of all global renewable fuels production.

“That is unacceptable,” Walsh said. “Aircraft have no option but to rely on liquid fuels, whereas other transport modes have alternatives.”

“A massive collective effort is needed to increase SAF output as a proportion of overall renewable fuel production as quickly as possible.”

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