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STRASBOURG/AMSTERDAM: July 18, 2019. President-elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, former German Defence minister, is proposing a Sustainable Europe Investment Plan with a budget of €1 trillion to ensure European CO2 emissions are reduced 55 percent by 2030.

Addressing the European Parliament prior to her election, von der Leyen said she wanted Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050.

“To make this happen I will put forward a Green Deal for Europe in my first 100 days in office. I will put forward the first ever European Climate Law which will set the 2050 target into law,” she declared.

“All of us and every sector will have to contribute, from aviation to maritime transport to the way each and everyone of us travels and lives. Emissions must have a price that changes our behaviour. To complement this work, and to ensure our companies can compete on a level playing field, I will introduce a Carbon Border Tax to avoid carbon leakage,” she continued.

KLM Sustainable programmeOn October 07 this year KLM will become the world’s first airline still operating under its original name to mark its 100th anniversary. At the end of June it launched its ‘Fly Responsibly’ initiative in a lone bid to encourage alternative and less CO2-intensive forms of transport where possible.

“Over the past hundred years, KLM’s entrepreneurial spirit and quest for innovation have played a pioneering role in the aviation industry. Our centenary is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to our ambition: to become the most customer-centric, innovative and efficient European network carrier with a deep-rooted determination to address the challenges that lie ahead,” declared president and CEO Pieter Elbers at the launch (pictured).

“Starting today, we will reach out and share our best practices and tools, all we have learned about sustainability, with all our competitors. We value competition, but not when it comes to the sustainable development of aviation. Starting today, we will offer all airlines our CO2ZERO carbon compensation programme free of charge and free of KLM branding. And in return, we invite others to join us and share their best practices for the benefit of a more sustainable future,” he continued.

Partners in the KLM Corporate BioFuel Programme pay a surcharge that covers the difference in cost between biofuel and traditional kerosene. In so doing, they confirm their leadership and actively contribute to making air transport more sustainable. The support of the participating companies helps to make BioFuel available on a larger scale and to make it economically more competitive to traditional fossil-based kerosene.

At the moment, the airline says sustainable fuel, sourced from raw materials that do not have a negative impact on biodiversity and/or food production, still costs three times the price of traditional fossil-based kerosene.

“We want multilateralism, we want fair trade, we defend the rules-based order because we know it is better for all of us. We have to do it the European way. But if we are to go down the European path, we must first rediscover our unity. If we are united on the inside, nobody will divide us from the outside,” said von der Leyen.

“Our most pressing challenge is keeping our planet healthy. This is the greatest responsibility and opportunity of our times,” she told members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

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