Responding to the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) report that recommends that the Government should reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, Chair of Sustainable Aviation Neil Robinson said:
“The UK aviation industry shares the Committee on Climate Change’s ambition to bring emissions into line with the Paris Agreement. We look forward to studying the CCC’s recommendations and working with the government on how we work together to rise to this challenge, while enabling the many positive benefits aviation brings by connecting people across the world.
“Since 2010, UK aviation has successfully decoupled growth in CO2 emissions from growth in passengers, freight and flights. We expect this to continue, as set out in the Sustainable Aviation CO2 Road-Map. For instance, we believe there are exciting opportunities to further reduce emissions through the development of hybrid electric aircraft, use of sustainable aviation fuels and modernisation of UK airspace.
“Aviation is by its very nature a global industry, and like the government, we back an international approach to limiting greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft. That is why we have signed up to emissions limits via the world’s first industry-specific global agreement, CORSIA, which will drive investment in the new, cleaner aircraft of tomorrow.”
- UK aviation’s progress to date:
- We have de-coupled aviation growth from growth in emissions: between 2010-16, passenger numbers in the UK grew by 25.8%, while total emissions only grew by 4.7%. This is thanks to, among other things, considerable investment in the latest aircraft technology as well as improved operating procedures and air traffic management.
- As a result of airlines purchasing new aircraft technology, SA airlines have improved their fuel efficiency by more than 13% since 2005.
- The UK Government, supported by industry, has achieved a world first with a global deal on aviation emissions (CORSIA) at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). No other transport mode has an equivalent deal, which aims for carbon-neutral growth from 2020. This is a crucial step towards SA’s objective of halving net emissions by 2050
- Next steps for sustainable aviation in the UK:
- 360 new aircraft are currently on order by UK airlines, which will improve the fleet-average fuel efficiency of UK aviation by 22% by 2050
- Airspace modernisation across the UK should be completed by the mid-2020s. This could deliver a reduction of up to 14% in emissions by 2050, including through more efficient operational procedures – like continuous climb departures and descent approaches which reduce engine use, lowering emissions and noise impacts.
- Aerospace manufacturers are investing in the next generation of engines and aircraft, and research hybrid-electric and fully-electric planes
- Sustainable aviation fuels are now supported by the UK Government and industry will start to commercialise these, delivering a reduction in emissions of up to 24%.
- The socio-economic benefits of aviation for the UK:
- 292m people travelled through UK airports last year for holidays, visiting friends and relatives as well as business opportunities
- Aviation and aerospace sectors employ more than a million people, who together ensure that aviation and aerospace contribute more than £1bn every week of the year towards GDP
- Aviation enables other industries to do well, for example:
- 40% of non-EU trade by value travels by air
- 75% of visitors to the UK travel by air, supporting a further half a million jobs in the UK tourism sector
- CORSIA is the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. It is a globally agreed market-based measure to address aviation carbon emissions. Overall, CORSIA will result in a greater CO2 mitigation in international aviation than any domestic policy for aviation can achieve. It is forecast that CORSIA will mitigate around 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 between 2021 and 2035, which is an annual average of 164 million tonnes. This represents an investment of about $40bn in climate projects (assuming that the price of carbon will increase from $8 in 2021 to $20 in 2035).