Climate summit puts spotlight on Hawaii aviation
Representatives of the major airlines serving Hawaii will join environmental and transportation industry officials in Honolulu today for a first-of-its-kind summit to discuss actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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Representatives of the major airlines serving
Hawaii will join environmental and transportation industry officials in Honolulu today for a first-of-its-kind summit to discuss actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Hawaii Aviation and Climate Action Summit will convene from 8 a.m. to
5:30 p.m. at the state Capitol and be open free to the public.
One of the event’s sponsors is Hawaiian Airlines.
“The airline industry has made huge strides to lower its collective carbon footprint, and we look forward to advancing our clean-
energy efforts,” said Ann Botticelli, Hawaiian’s senior vice president for corporate communications and public affairs, in a news release.
With nearly a third of the petroleum consumed in the state for jet fuel, Hawaii is uniquely dependent on aviation for its economy, said
Joelle Simonpietri of Simonpietri Enterprises LLC, the event organizer.
“The purpose of this summit is to hear about successes elsewhere and
to see what’s applicable in Hawaii,” she said.
Simonpietri, an expert in renewable fuel supply chain development and production technology for military and civil aviation fuels, said she hopes the summit will lead to stakeholders agreeing to specific actions and policy, as well as the formation of a task force. She said the goal is to have at least one facility making sustainable aviation fuel in Hawaii.
Alaska, Southwest and United Airlines are expected to send representatives to the event.
Also attending is the state’s chief energy officer, Scott Glenn, who will represent Hawaii at the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid next week.
Summit speakers include representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aviation Sustainability Center, the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative, Oregon’s Clean Fuel Program and the U.S. Low Carbon Fuel Coalition.
Event sponsors include the Hawaii Bioeconomy Trade Organization, Island Energy Services, Hawaiian Airlines, Ulupono Initiative, Perkins Coie LLP, the state House of Representatives Committee for Energy and Environment, and the Hawaii State Energy Office.
The U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization has called for all airlines to cap greenhouse gas emissions from international operations beginning in 2022. That mandate is expected to create a need for supplies of either sustainable aviation fuel with a lower greenhouse gas intensity, or carbon offsets meeting certain standards.
Members of the International Air Transport
Association unanimously committed to carbon-
neutral growth starting in 2020, and to cutting in half 2005 greenhouse gas emission levels by 2050.
With that pledge, United Airlines alone would reduce emissions from the equivalent of
4.5 million vehicles on the road — or the total number of cars in New York and Los Angeles combined, officials said.
Hawaiian Airlines, the state’s largest and longest-serving carrier, has made multibillion-dollar investments in fuel-efficient aircraft, flight routing technology and ground operations to
significantly reduce its emissions, officials said. In 2018, Hawaiian lowered jet fuel consumption
by 7 million gallons, equal to 14,300 fewer cars on the road for a year, they said.
Simonpietri said the new U.N. standard means the world’s largest airlines need to incorporate renewable fuels into their supply chains quickly.
“Because of our location as an important international destination, Hawaii can continue to be a leader and innovation hub for sustainable aviation fuel development,” she said. “This summit is a necessary step toward making that happen.”
Ten years ago Simonpietri led a federal Department of Defense initiative at the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii to increase the use of biofuels.
Some 22 billion gallons of jet fuel is produced each year in the United States, a significant part
of the 80 billion gallons produced around the world every year.
The airline industry and the Federal Aviation Administration have been investigating alternative fuels in an effort to cut reliance on fossil fuels, improve fuel security, reduce pollution and
address climate change concerns.