Delta has announced an ambitious plan to become the first US airline to go carbon neutral, committing $1bn over the next 10 years to cut all emissions from its flight and ground operations.

Shadow of an airplane over a forest
Delta has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050 Thomas Jackson/Getty Images

Delta's carbon-neutral plan is one of the most ambitious pledged by any US airline. It follows a report from the International Council on Clean Transportation which found that carbon dioxide emissions from the airline sector increased by more than 30% between 2013 and 2018 - a figure that's expected to triple by 2050.

"There's no challenge we face that is in greater need of innovation than environmental sustainability, and we know there is no single solution. We are digging deep into the issues, examining every corner of our business, engaging experts, building coalitions, fostering partnerships and driving innovation," said Ed Bastian, Delta's chief executive.

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Delta said it will cut emissions on flight and ground operations by 2050

Delta emits around 40 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, and 98% of its pollution comes from its aircraft. In order to go fully carbon neutral, the airline will need to update its fleet with more fuel-efficient planes and consider biofuels. The airline will also invest in carbon-capture technologies in forestry, wetland restoration, grassland conservation, marine and soil capture.

The 10-year-strategy, which begins in March, will also look at Delta's partnerships with employees, suppliers, global partners, customers, investors and other stakeholders to see how they can work together to reduce their carbon footprint.

But Delta isn't the only US airline thinking sustainability. In January, low-cost carrier JetBlue announced plans to become carbon neutral on all domestic flights by 2050. 

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