Understanding variability in petroleum jet fuel life cycle greenhouse gas emissions to inform aviation decarbonization
A pressing challenge facing the aviation industry is to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the face of increasing demand for aviation fuels. Climate goals such as carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onwards require continuous improvements in technology, operations, infrastructure, and most importantly, reductions in aviation fuel life cycle emissions. The Carbon Offsetting Scheme for International Aviation of the International Civil Aviation Organization provides a global market-based measure to group all possible emissions reduction measures into a joint program. Using a bottom-up, engineering-based modeling approach, this study provides the first estimates of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from petroleum jet fuel on regional and global scales. Here we show that not all petroleum jet fuels are the same as the country-level life cycle emissions of petroleum jet fuels. These findings provide a high-resolution baseline against which sustainable aviation fuel and other emissions reduction opportunities can be prioritized to achieve greater emissions reductions faster.