A number of companies have announced efforts to bring back commercial supersonic transport. But, as this briefing outlines, the extraordinary negative environmental impact of these aircraft, especially the climate impact, is often overlooked. Such aircraft have very heavy fuel consumption demands and generate extreme non-CO2 effects, far exceeding those of sub-sonic aircraft. Policymakers should therefore be wary of facilitating the return of supersonic commercial flight, and devise measures to ensure that any potential reintroduction does not result in a net increase in civil aviation's climate impact compared to a 'no supersonic' scenario.
In this letter, NGOs Aviation Environment Federation, Carbon Market Watch and Transport & Environment tell European ministers for climate and transport that the excessive environmental and climate implications of supersonic flight are beyond doubt. They call on the ministers to make clear that Europe’s commitment to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement will require the environmental performance of all new supersonic aircraft to at least meet existing and future environmental standards applicable to subsonic aircraft and so avoid any deterioration in aircraft environmental impacts. Given aviation’s already considerable environmental impact, it is imperative that Europe’s regulators act firmly and without delay to protect European citizens.
More than half of the palm oil imported into the EU is used to make biodiesel for cars and trucks. Palm oil used for biodiesel has increased sharply over the last years while food consumption of palm oil is declining.
T&E has obtained letters from six EU countries informing the UN aviation agency ICAO that they may pull out out of a global carbon offsetting scheme for aircraft emissions if its environmental safeguards are weakened any further. In separate letters, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Finland and Norway state that if sustainability rules governing the use of offsets and alternative fuels are watered down any more in negotiations, they will reconsider their participation. The letters are available to download here. T&E has also seen documents that suggest six other EU countries have similarly told ICAO that they will pull out of the scheme, known as CORSIA.
UPDATE: Portugal subsequently made its letter to ICAO available, becoming the seventh European country to publicly state it will reconsider its participation in CORSIA if sustainability rules are further weakened.
Carmakers are failing to achieve their own targets for sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrid models as they do not increase the offer of these vehicles fast enough. While manufacturers complain about a lack of recharging infrastructure and incentives, this report by T&E makes it clear that they could have done significantly more to meet their own goals.