KLM must become environmentally sustainable in exchange for support package

The Dutch government is supporting KLM with billions of euros so that the company overcome the current coronavirus crisis.

In exchange, KLM must become more environmentally sustainable, reports RTL Nieuws.

The company will receive €3.4 billion worth of loans to help it stay afloat. The company has promised in return to reduce CO2 emissions per passenger kilometre by 50% by 2030. This refers specifically to the amount of CO2 emissions made by one passenger per kilometre of travel. 14% of fuel also needs to be sustainable by 2030.

The plans to reduce emissions is in line with plans by the Dutch government, which seeks to reduce emissions of CO2 in the country by half by 2030. The aviation industry can continue to grow as long as they halve their emissions by that date.

Criticism of KLM’s environmental policies

Not everyone is happy with the way KLM is treating their reduction of emissions. If all other industries in the Netherlands will need to halve their collective emissions by 2030, the aviation industry can still emit twice as much CO2 in 2030 as it did in 1995.

Bram van Lierre from Milieudefensie considers lowering emissions per passenger kilometre interesting “in theory”. However, if the aviation industry continues to grow economically and more passengers continue to fly, nothing will change. He told RTL Nieuws that “If we fly more, the environmental benefits will evaporate again.”

Paul Peeters, professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Breda stated that if you want to reduce emissions, you need to look at the total number of emissions. “You cannot speak of a strong sustainability policy at KLM.”

Researchers at CE Delft calculated the amount of emissions by KLM in 2018. The company emitted then 8.6 megatons of CO2. Per passenger-kilometre, 80 grams of CO2 were emitted. By comparison, total CO2 emissions in the Netherlands are 163 megatons, with the aviation industry accounting for 6% of total emissions in the Dutch economy.

European figures for 2019 have shown that emissions from the largest airlines have increased, including KLM. Whatever the case, it will be difficult for KLM to halve their emissions.

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Feature Image: Jyi1693/ Wikimedia Commons

Vlad Moca-Grama
Vlad was born and raised in Brasov, Romania and came to the Hague to study. When he isn't spending time missing mountains or complaining about the lack of urban exploration locations in the Netherlands, you can find him writing at Dutch Review.

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