Ryanair fake ‘green’ ad shows why lawmakers must take on its soaring emissions

Reaction to the UK Advertising Standards Authority’s ruling on Ryanair 

The biggest aviation emitter in Europe, Ryanair, has been sanctioned today by the UK Advertising Standards Authority for misleading claims that it’s a green airline.[1] The low-cost operator mislead consumers in press, TV and radio ads by claiming to be “low CO2” and “Europe’s… lowest emissions airline”, the ads watchdog ruled. Green campaign and research group Transport & Environment (T&E) said the ruling dispels Ryanair’s green myths and shows the need for lawmakers to finally do something about airline emissions.

Ryanair has been ordered to withdraw the misleading claims about its “green” credentials. The airline’s CO2 emissions increased by half in five years, [2] 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.

T&E’s aviation manager, Jo Dardenne, 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 3.7% 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.

Notes to editors:

[1] The UK Advertising Standards Authority will published its ruling on Wednesday, 5 February 2020. See: https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/ryanair-ltd-cas-571089-p1w6b2.html

[2] In 2017 Ryanair was the 12th largest emitter in the EU emissions trading system (ETS), and in 2016 it was 17th. Its emissions have been growing steadily, while at the same time emissions from other sectors covered by the ETS have been declining. In 2013, Ryanair’s emissions were 6.6 Mt CO2. Last year, they soared to 9.9 Mt CO2, representing an increase of 49%.

Contact the press team

Eoin Bannon
Media Manager
+32 (0)487 717296 
eoin.bannon@transportenvironment.org

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