Transport is Europe's biggest climate problem accounting for 27% of its GHG emissions in 2017. This report summarises a series of studies by Transport & Environment. (T&E analysed pathways for decarbonisation in the road freight, aviation, shipping and car sectors.) It demonstrates that transport can and must be decarbonised by 2050 at the very latest, not only to limit global warming but also to ensure Europe's competitiveness, its energy sovereignty and the health and well-being of its 500 million citizens.
Aviation is responsible for 5% of global warming and its rapid growth puts it on track to consume a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050. There is a way to avoid this outcome but we need to act fast, a green transport NGO has said. By driving out the use of fossil kerosene fuel through carbon pricing and requiring aircraft to switch to synthetic fuels, the climate impact of flying can be reduced dramatically, according to a new report by Transport & Environment (T&E).
MEPs voted today to limit the exemption from the EU ETS of flights to and from Europe until 2021, pending further information regarding the UN aviation body ICAO’s global offsetting measure known as ‘CORSIA’. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes this vote as essential to safeguarding European climate goals. MEPs also endorsed a number of reforms to aviation’s inclusion in Europe’s emissions trading scheme which will start to cut back on the sector’s special treatment on climate policy.
Ryanair grabbed headlines earlier this month after it was revealed that it's now a top 10 carbon emitter in Europe. But for those of us working on aviation and climate, the news came as no surprise. Aviation emissions have been soaring for years. And as other sectors’ emissions decline, aviation has been climbing up the climate rankings. Aviation is the most carbon intensive mode of transport, Europe’s fastest growing source of emissions, and with its emissions having grown 26% in five years, Europe’s greatest climate failure.
UK-based Jet2 was the fastest growing airline polluter within Europe last year, growing its carbon emissions a staggering 20% in just 12 months, according to official EU data released this month. It was joined in the top 10 fast growing airline emitters by fellow low-cost operators Wizz Air, EasyJet, Vueling, Norwegian and Ryanair and national carriers TAP, Finnair, Lufthansa and KLM.
The Council of ICAO – the UN’s aviation body – is meeting to take decisions on critical aspects governing the global offsetting scheme for aviation, known as CORSIA. Decisions taken will largely determine whether the CORSIA will have environmental integrity in meeting its goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020, or whether a system might be created that operates in secrecy and allows bad quality, double-counted emissions credits which make climate change worse.
Taxing flights rather than tickets is a more effective way of addressing the growing environmental impact of air transport. That is the conclusion of a study commissioned by T&E into the under-taxation of aviation and the legal obstacles facing efforts to charge for the environmental costs of flights.
Aviation is already a major and growing emitter. In Europe its emissions have doubled since 1990, and globally they could, without action, double or treble by 2050. The sector will have a substantial fuel demand well into the 2030s, 2040s and beyond, the period when our economy needs to increasingly decarbonise. This report puts forward measures to limit that fuel requirement, but ultimately the remaining and substantial fuel demand will need to have its carbon content eliminated. The process of cutting and then decarbonising that fuel demand is the focus of this report.
A UN scheme being set up to tackle the climate impact of flying will credit airlines that use fossil fuels that have been declared to be ‘green’. The extraordinary concession was pushed through by Saudi Arabia, with the backing of the United States, and means that, for example, airlines burning kerosene could be rewarded with reduced obligations to buy carbon offsets simply because the refinery producing the oil was running on renewable electricity.
T&E has obtained letters from six EU countries informing the UN aviation agency ICAO that they may pull out out of a global carbon offsetting scheme for aircraft emissions if its environmental safeguards are weakened any further. In separate letters, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Finland and Norway state that if sustainability rules governing the use of offsets and alternative fuels are watered down any more in negotiations, they will reconsider their participation. The letters are available to download here. T&E has also seen documents that suggest six other EU countries have similarly told ICAO that they will pull out of the scheme, known as CORSIA.