The FAA celebrated Earth Day on Monday with a recap of most of the programs it’s involved with to make aviation better for the planet. The Flight to Sustainability is the metaphorical journey the agency has embarked upon to make aviation net-zero for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. “The FAA is bringing sustainability from the ground to the skies for a greener future,” the agency said in a statement. Laurence Wildgoose, the FAA’s Assistant Administrator for Policy, International Affairs and Environment, penned an essay outlining those initiatives.

Among the programs being promoted and funded by the FAA are the CLEEN program, which has invested $450 million for research to reduce aircraft noise, emissions and fuel consumption. It’s also supporting development of sustainable aviation fuel, noting that more than 450,000 flights have been powered in part with SAF. It’s also encouraging green initiatives in airport terminals, ATC towers and infrastructure projects.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Well, I’ll just come out and say it; the FAA’s focus on this program lining up with the political winds is purely coincidental, I’m sure.

  2. What Bravo Sierra! Net zero by 2050 … how the heck are they gonna do that with all the air traffic… by reducing noise emissions? OH! Mr. Wildgoose said it SO … it MUST be true? Is that name a joke or for real?
    There goes another $450M of Govment money … right down the “green” rabbit hole. It’s time to put ALL the Government spending on a “green” diet.

  3. According to my climate scientist friends at the university, the US is responsible for approximately 14.6% of the world’s carbon emissions. If that is true, then why are we destroying our economy to ‘go green’ when approximately 85.4% of the carbon emissions are beyond our control? I’m just asking, so hold the flames.

    I recall as a wee lad in the 60s driving with my parents to St. Louis to watch the Cardinals play baseball and not being able to see the Arch from the Illinois side of the river due to the smog. I also recall my eyes stinging after a few innings and being able to taste the air. Yesterday, the air was crystal clear in St. Lou with no apparent smog smells. Hmmm….

    Net zero? Does that mean our economy as well as the environment impact of carbon? Are we headed toward becoming a third world nation? I’m more afraid of that than human causes of climate change. Read Freeman Dyson… he was a brilliant, brilliant physicist and I think his views on climate change and climate predictions were spot on.

    We are sacrificing valuable farm land for unsustainable solar and wind farms… unsustainable due to maintenance costs and clean-up after those machines have become obsolete. I can’t seem to get a straight answer from my same university peers regarding how to keep such ‘green’ energy farms running far into the future.

    Sigh… just my two cents. I’m not against green energy. We’ll eventually run out of oil, but most likely not in my or my children or grandchildren’s lifetimes. Let’s continue to research new energy sources, but let’s also be sane and reasonable about it.

    Unfortunately, ‘reasonable’ is not a common term in this age. I think I’ll go glue myself to the interstate just after I throw paint on a Van Gogh… (I need to clarify… that was a joke).

    • “I recall as a wee lad in the 60s driving with my parents to St. Louis to watch the Cardinals play baseball and not being able to see the Arch from the Illinois side of the river due to the smog. I also recall my eyes stinging after a few innings and being able to taste the air. Yesterday, the air was crystal clear in St. Lou with no apparent smog smells. Hmmm….”

      My family is from St Louis. In the 60s when the wind shifted, the air was crystal clear too.

    • I lived in Southern Kalyfornya for 27 years. In the early 70’s the air in LA was that way. As time moved forward, there were far more vehicles yet the smog devices and fuel injection and — most importantly — computers took care of that. Smog is still there but it no longer is horrible as it was.

  4. OK, here’s what to do, and I’ll bill the FAA just $449 million. Let’s see the FAA mandate a one-day-per-week stand down of all activity in the Federal Airspace. No fuel burned, no emissions, no noise, and as a bonus ALL controllers get to nap on their unpaid day off. End result: Nobody’s happy, except for maybe some of the nappers, and “Progress” is evident for publicity purposes – same as whatever they come up with for the full price of $450m.

  5. “Laurence Wildgoose” ? is this satire? What a crock. Read about the real founders of Earth Day: “Earth Day co-founder killed, composted girlfriend – Ira Einhorn was on stage hosting the first Earth Day event at the Fairmount Park in Philadelphia on April 22, 1970. Seven years later, police raided his closet and found the “composted” body of his ex-girlfriend inside a trunk.”

  6. Russ tosses out red meat and stands a safe distance back (I hope) to watch the feeding frenzy of replies.

  7. I can read studies and look at data about climate change but I cannot personally prove anything, but I do know this. (PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS!!) If I go out to my garage, start my car, put the windows down and keep the garage door closed, I’ll be dead in about three hours from the gases that are emitted from my tailpipes. I don’t know how many cars, trucks, boats, tractors, generators and other things there are that run on gas or diesel fuels, but worldwide it has to be over a billion. Now the world is a lot bigger than my two car garage but a billion or so gasoline or diesel engines spewing their exhaust into the air everyday can’t be good for us or the earth. I don’t know the best way forward but I know we have to address it and we have to work together if we are ever going to solve it.

  8. No worries, CO gets degraded by the environment.

    “Carbon monoxide mainly enters the environment from natural sources and from the burning of fuel oils. It stays in the air for about 2 months. It is broken down in air by reacting with other chemicals and is changed into carbon dioxide. It is broken down in soil by microorganisms into carbon dioxide.”

  9. “Over the past century, the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere have increased significantly due to human activities. Here’s a closer look at the changes over the last 100 and 50 years:

    100 Years Ago (around 1924): CO2 levels were much lower compared to today. At that time, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 305 parts per million (ppm). The industrial activities were extensive but not as intense or widespread as in later decades, especially post-World War II.

    50 Years Ago (around 1974): By this time, CO2 levels had begun to rise more noticeably. The concentration was about 330 ppm. The increase was largely driven by the expansion of fossil fuel combustion for energy, increased automobile usage, and greater industrial activity globally.

    Today: The current concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has surpassed 420 ppm. This significant rise from the levels 50 and 100 years ago is primarily due to continued and expanded use of fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes that emit large amounts of CO2.

    These trends highlight the impact of industrialization and economic development on global carbon cycles, particularly how human activities have accelerated the increase in atmospheric CO2, contributing to climate change and global warming.” Google AI