Virgin America to be first US airline to report its greenhouse gas emissions to The Climate Registry
Fri 24 Apr 2009 – Virgin America has become the first airline to join The Climate Registry, the non-profit collaboration of US, Canadian and Mexican states and provinces that sets standards to calculate, verify and report greenhouse gas emissions. The airline will report accurate and recognized emissions data as a Member on an annual basis as it measures and manages its emissions and CO2 reduction goals. Although the move is voluntary, it comes as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers how to design a mandatory GHG emissions reporting system in which The Climate Registry could play a future role.
“As the only California-based airline, it is in our DNA to make environmentally sustainable practices a core priority in our business model,” said Dave Pflieger, Senior Vice President of Legal, Government Affairs and Sustainability at Virgin America. “We’re proud to join visionary California leaders like Senator Boxer and Rep. Waxman in calling for transparency in reporting and controlling CO2 and other greenhouse gases. We hope to do our part to promote awareness and transparency about the impact our industry has on the environment.
“While our relative performance against other domestic carriers shows us as one of the most efficient US airlines in terms of CO2 emissions on an available seat mile (ASM) basis, we’re focused on maintaining that lead and trying to further decrease and offset our CO2 footprint in the years ahead.”
Californian congresswoman Jackie Speier commented: “I congratulate Virgin America for achieving the notable distinction of being the first airline to join The Climate Registry. By voluntarily measuring and reporting its carbon footprint, the airline sets a standard for others to follow.”
A Virgin America spokesperson told GreenAir: “We’re supportive of political efforts to improve our collective focus on these issues. We all have a role to play in addressing climate change, and this includes members of the airline industry. We see it as our responsibility to know our accurate carbon footprint and manage it and share this information with our customers. In the end, trying to hide this information or prevent it from being disclosed will hinder our joint efforts to reduce our impact on the environment.”
Last October, Virgin America became the first commercial passenger airline to join the EPA’s Climate Leaders programme in which it is working the agency to create a verified inventory of its GHG emissions. As a Member of The Climate Registry, the airline will be required, it says, to compile a more comprehensive emissions report based on more rigorous standards. During the next few months, the carrier says it will publish a comprehensive 2008 emissions report for all six internationally-recognized greenhouse gases.
Representatives from 41 US states, Washington DC, 12 Canadian provinces and territories, six Mexican states and four Native Sovereign Nations sit on The Climate Registry’s Board of Directors.
For an emissions report to be accepted by The Registry, data must be reported according to standards established in The Registry’s General Reporting Protocol and verified by an independent, third-party Verification Body that is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and recognized by The Registry.
All US airlines are required to submit to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics their monthly fuel consumption, from which CO2 emissions could be calculated. Those US international airlines flying to and from Europe will also be obliged to monitor, and in future report, their relevant CO2 emissions to their appropriate EU Competent Authority in order to comply with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.