Green group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes the UK’s government’s initiative to bring aviation on a path to net zero emissions, but says that the strategy fails to deliver on true solutions to transition the industry.
Matt Finch, UK Director at T&E, says: “The Jet Zero Strategy landed on the same day as the nation melts under record climate-change induced heat. But rather than a pragmatic plan to fully wean the aviation industry off fossil fuels, it allows the sector to carry on polluting with impunity for the next 30 years. Whilst there are some good commitments, it will go down in history as a missed opportunity”.
The Government’s plan relies on six measures to decarbonise the sector, including Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) uptake. There is an ambitious 10% mandate for SAFs, but not all SAFs are created equal and it’s essential to deploy the most sustainable ones. The government will shortly consult on SAFs, but investments in green fuels should start as soon as possible.
Zero-emission aircraft play an important role in the strategy, and the commitment to domestic routes flown by these planes in 2030 is world-leading. However, the strategy still leaves UK aviation emitting half of the greenhouse gases it currently does in 2050 (approximately 19 million tonnes CO2e), which is simply not good enough in a climate emergency. Furthermore, the strategy is weak on how the UK should tackle the crucial non-CO2 climate impacts caused by UK aviation.
“The Jet Zero strategy simply hasn’t lived up to the hype. Whilst the SAF and zero-emission aircraft commitments are very encouraging, the overreliance on greenhouse gas removals will baffle many. Additionally, it effectively ignores two thirds of aviation’s climate problem by not properly addressing the non-CO2 impacts planes cause”, Matt Finch concluded.