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A proposed consumer class action lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges that Delta Airlines made “false and misleading” claims of being the world’s first carbon-neutral airline while relying on invalid carbon offsets.
Delta must compensate customers for misrepresenting itself as a carbon-neutral airline in marketing and advertising campaigns persuading customers to purchase more expensive tickets that they believe have no environmental impact. school, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit, filed by California resident Mayanna Berrin in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, says Delta set the stage for its carbon neutrality when purchasing carbon offsets from voluntary carbon markets. , instead of achieving carbon neutrality through sustainable fuels and carbon removal as originally promised.
“Nearly all offsets offered by the voluntary carbon offset market are over-promising and under-delivering their total carbon impact due to endemic method error and fraudulent accounting on behalf of the carbon offsets. compensation provider,” her attorney wrote in the complaint.
The voluntary carbon offsetting market is an arrangement of companies and NGOs that facilitate investments in green programs such as anti-deforestation and renewable energy. In exchange for their investment in these projects, companies receive a carbon offset in the form of a credit that verifies the amount of carbon not released as a result of the company’s investment in the offset.
According to the lawsuit, Delta purchased credits from projects including solar and wind projects in India, a swamp forest in Indonesia and a wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia.
The lawsuit alleges the airline’s practice is not carbon-neutral and that customers would not purchase tickets on those Delta flights — or would pay significantly less for those tickets — if they knew that the neutral claim carbonization is misleading.
The lawsuit comes three years after Delta announced it would be completely carbon neutral, which means it would eliminate all of the greenhouse gas emissions it produces.
Delta has committed $1 billion to reduce all emissions from its business over the next decade, with plans to buy carbon credits, increase airline efficiency and reduce fuel use. whether the plane. The company advertises itself as the world’s first carbon-neutral airline in advertisements, press releases, LinkedIn posts, podcasts, and in-flight napkins.
Delta spokesman Grant Myatt said the lawsuit “has no legal merit.”
“Delta committed to becoming carbon neutral by March 2020, and as of March 31, 2022, we have completely shifted our focus from carbon offsetting to decarbonizing our operations, focusing our efforts on investing in sustainable aviation fuels, innovating our fleet to be more fuel-efficient than airplanes and realize operational efficiency,” Myatt said in an email.
According to the International Energy Agency, the aviation industry accounts for more than 2% of global carbon emissions. This industry is one of the lots of energy Consumption patterns, passenger demand and cargo volumes will increase in the coming decades, making it impossible for the industry to meet its global decarbonization targets.
Global airlines have pledged to reduce net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century, in part by buying offsets that critics say do not reduce the airline’s actual emissions. . Study published Last year by campaign group Transport & Environment showed that the aviation industry cannot match zero and carbon emissions targets without reducing the number of flights.