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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

American Airlines is more aggressively leaning into sustainable aviation fuels and research into new propulsion technologies to reach its goal of net-zero emissions in 2050, the company tells Axios.

What’s new: The Fort Worth-based airline gave Axios a first look at new details on how it plans to get to net zero.

Why it matters: Aviation is a growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, and one of the hardest to decarbonize because of the need to develop high-performing engines to run on something other than Jet-A fuel.

Details: The airline's planned reliance on sustainable aviation fuels, which are made from sustainable feedstocks like household solid waste or algae, has increased compared to last year's agenda.

By the numbers: Here's how the airline plans to get to net zero:

  • 39% from sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs).
  • 17% from next-generation planes.
  • 17% from carbon offsets.
  • 15% of emissions cuts would come from buying new, more efficient planes to replace older aircraft.
  • 9% from air traffic control modernization to enable more efficient flight paths.
  • 3% would come from operational efficiency gains.

The bottom line: “The engine makers have really been pushing the barriers and trying to figure out how we can get to 100%” of SAFs in aviation fuel, rather than a 50% blend with traditional aviation fuel, an American Airlines official told Axios.

Go deeper: The Prius of airplanes

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that American Airlines is based in Fort Worth (not Dallas).

Go deeper

Study casts doubt on climate emissions pledge estimates

In an aerial view, floodwaters surround homes and farms on Nov. 20 in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A new analysis casts doubt on whether scientists can precisely estimate how much nations' combined emissions-cutting pledges will stem global warming, instead showing a wide range of potential outcomes.

Why it matters: World leaders need to know if emissions targets currently on the table would meet the Paris Agreement's temperature goals or if more stringent commitments are needed. The new study shows they may be placing too much faith in temperature projections.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

U.S. fuel economy hits record high but falls short of policymakers' hopes

Data: EPA; Chart: Axios Visuals

New EPA data on U.S. vehicle fuel economy paints a mixed picture, showing record average efficiency in model year 2020 that's nonetheless far short of what policymakers hope to see ahead.

Driving the news: The annual report shows that average overall fuel economy for cars, SUVs and light trucks sold in the U.S. reached 25.4 miles per gallon (mpg) in model year 2020 in real-world conditions, a 0.5 mpg increase over 2019.

Updated 12 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.