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  • Aviation biofuels: Avoiding past sustainability mistakes

    Aviation is responsible for 5% of man-made climate change; the sector currently emits around 2.3% of annual global CO2 emissions. Without action this is expected to grow considerably.

    Some sections of industry and governments see biofuels as a key avenue for reducing the sector’s emissions. ICAO is developing a methodology to assess fuels life cycle emissions. Lessons learned in road transport suggest that while biofuels may play a role in decarbonising the sector, focusing on quantity without properly addressing sustainability concerns – notably direct and indirect land-use change (ILUC) – will backfire.

    Policymakers must ensure quality first: so that aviation biofuels are better than kerosene from a climate perspective even when including ILUC, and are compliant with sound environmental and social criteria, including a certification scheme. No credible scenarios exist for large-scale production of such biofuels at acceptable prices.