Plane standing in queue

Why decarbonise?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, aviation produced around 1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions in 2019: around 3% of all emissions released into the atmosphere globally. And yet, aviation has been slow to act when it comes to decarbonisation. Making an impact tomorrow demands action today - there is no time to lose if society is to meet the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious target to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

90% of research participants consider decarbonisation to be a top three priority for their business, but there are significant barriers:

  • global targets are not sufficiently ambitious and not adequately supported by local regulation;
  • the high cost of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF);
  • leisure passengers are reluctant to absorb the cost of lower emissions solutions; and,
  • many within the aviation industry are skeptical about the role of carbon offsets.

However, the research has found clear strategies for overcoming these barriers. With collaboration, innovation and ambition across the full aviation ecosystem, these strategies can accelerate change. Energy providers can increase the production and supply of SAF, and governments can help increase its use with new supply and demand-side incentives. Financial institutions can provide more funding for SAF production, and corporate flyers can purchase more SAF as part of their environmental, social and governance commitments.

The industry believes more ambitious targets must be set. Airlines and international aviation organisations should increase their ambition and clearly communicate emission reduction goals. Perhaps most critically in the immediate term - standards and assurance for high-quality offset programmes must be complemented with awareness schemes that advocate the benefits of offsets, ease purchasing and reward their use.

The challenge is enormous but if all parties work together using all measures, Shell believes that the aviation sector can achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. And Shell must play its part.

Shell aims to produce around 2 million tonnes of SAF a year by 2025, and by 2030, it aims to have at least 10% of its global aviation fuel sales as SAF.

Shell is looking for partners on this path to decarbonisation. We can’t do it alone. Nobody can. Whether you are a business wanting to lower your aviation-related emissions, an airline or a SAF producer, we are ready to work with you to help make flight net zero by 2050.

Carlos Maurer, Executive Vice President, Sectors & Decarbonisation

Aviation is fundamental to the world economy and keeping people connected. Yet, if the world is to fly and emit less everyone must work together now to reduce the cost of and increase supply of sustainable aviation fuel, build engagement with carbon offsets and innovate around future technologies.

Carlos Maurer, Executive Vice President, Sectors & Decarbonisation

Explore the publications

  • Front view of plane

    Executive summary

    Download the executive summary of the industry perspective report Decarbonising Aviation: Cleared for Take-off to read how to accelerate aviation decarbonisation.

    Download Executive summary

  • Planes parked in Airport

    Media release

    Read the media release

  • decarb freight infographic


    Download infographic

  • Plane at airport

    World Economic Forum – Agenda blog | 20 September 2021

    ‘Aviation's flight path to a net-zero future’, a blog by Huibert Vigeveno, Downstream Director of Shell

    Read blog

Anna Mascolo, President, Shell Aviation

Sustainable aviation fuel offers the greatest potential to reduce emissions. At Shell our ambition is to produce around 2 million tonnes of SAF a year by 2025. With the right policies, investments and collaboration across the sector we can accelerate aviation’s progress towards net zero by 2050.

Anna Mascolo, President, Shell Aviation


The future of energy

Bold action and collaboration are key to aviation's decarbonisation. Explore how Shell are helping the aviation sector to avoid, reduce and offset emissions.

Flightpath: Exploring the future of aviation

Visit Flight Path, our thought-leadership platform, which shares expert perspectives and potential solutions on issues that are central to the future of our industry.