Non-CO2 effects are estimated to account for two thirds of aviation’s climate impact. These effects have been known for decades, but they have received little attention from industry and policymakers so far.
However, scientific research has made significant progress in recent years, and innovative companies are creating effective solutions to mitigate these effects. Moreover, tackling non-CO2 effects could be the fastest way to reduce aviation’s climate impact, as they are very short lived. The missing piece is an adequate policy framework to support the development and deployment of these solutions.
Fortunately, the the EU ETS revision and ReFuelEU initiative offer a great opportunity to start mitigating these effects by means of Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) schemes:
- EU ETS: an MRV pilot scheme to measure non-CO2 effects for each flight, with binding policy proposals by 2026, including pricing incentives to support solutions.
- ReFuelEU: an MRV to monitor the level of aromatics, naphthalene and sulphur in jet fuel, and a European Commission report with mitigation measures and binding legislation if appropriate.
Both legislative files provide opportunities to develop mitigation pathways, which is why they are complementary and should be pursued in parallel. Guided by solid science and research, the EU can and must seize the opportunity to lead the fight against non-CO2 effects. The proposed measures have minimal impact on airlines, and are a necessary first step to create policies that will support the development of quick and effective solutions against aviation’s biggest climate issue.