Ryanair busted over misleading ‘low CO2’ claims

The biggest airline CO2 emitter within Europe, Ryanair, has been reprimanded by an advertising regulator over claims that it was “low CO2” and “Europe’s… lowest emissions airline”. The low-cost carrier mislead consumers with the claims in press, TV and radio ads, the UK Advertising Authority ruled yesterday.

Ryanair has been ordered to withdraw the misleading claims. The airline’s CO2 emissions increased by nearly half in the five years to 2018, putting it on the EU’s list of top 10 emitters. Yet, despite airlines’ soaring pollution, the sector pays no tax on its fuel and has no obligation to start using newer, cleaner fuels like synthetic kerosene.

The low-cost carrier told Reuters that said the same advertising claims had been used in 10 European countries.

T&E said the ruling dispels Ryanair’s green myths and shows the need for lawmakers to finally do something about airline emissions. Jo Dardenne, T&E aviation manager, said: ‘Ryanair should stop greenwashing and start doing something to tackle its sky-high emissions. This ruling is a reminder that the aviation sector’s climate impact is soaring because of a decades-long tax holiday and almost zero regulation of their pollution. European governments must without delay agree bilaterally to tax jet fuel until EU Vice-President Timmermans secures the end of the tax exemption.’

The emissions of all flights departing from EU airports have grown from 1.4% of total EU emissions in 1990 to 3.9% today. If unmitigated, aviation emissions are expected to double or triple by 2050 and, in doing so, consume up to one-quarter of the global carbon budget under a 1.5 degree scenario.