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AirportWatch Press Release
8th July 2011
Green groups warn Government over aviation CO2 emissions
Government must retain current UK aviation CO2 target and adopt
Committee on Climate Change recommended flight limits in full
“Back door” airport expansion via planning system needs to be stopped right
away until new UK-wide aviation policy in place
major new report from AirportWatch (1), the UK umbrella alliance of green and
community groups campaigning for sustainable aviation policies, entitled “Aviation
and Climate Change Policy in the UK” (2) is published today, setting
out a sophisticated policy mix of tough measures to control and reduce UK
aviation’s growing carbon footprint that endorses the seminal December 2009
Committee on Climate Change report “Meeting the UK Aviation Target”
AirportWatch would like to see the following actions implemented
confirmation that absolute UK aviation CO2 emissions
to be no higher than 2005 levels in 2050, a total of 37.5 MtCO2 (as
a minimum requirement)
this target by setting interim goals: average UK aviation emissions not to
exceed 37.5 MtCO2 in
any 5 year period through to 2050
5 yearly assessments of aircraft fuel efficiency and CO2 performance
improvements to check new aviation technology is delivering the industry’s
tough mandatory sustainability criteria for all aviation biofuels at
Government level: today's voluntary standards are unacceptable and open to
future airport development must obviously now fit within the CCC 37.5
must be mandatory
regular updates on the non-CO2 impacts
of aviation – NOx, condensation trails and cloud formation – which are known
to be at least double the climate impact of CO2 alone.
The 2050 target must be adjusted in the light of evolving
atmospheric/climate change scientific knowledge
review of the impact of aviation’s inclusion in the EU’s ETS scheme and of
Air Passenger Duty, in order to better understand the role taxes and charges
play and at what level they might need to be to help achieve the 2050
Tim Johnson, Director of the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), part
of the AirportWatch network said:
“Today’s report reminds the coalition Government that the CCC is
their climate watchdog with a legal obligation to ensure our national
climate targets are on track. The Government has already set a tough CO2 emissions
target for UK air transport which must be retained and strengthened. The
Government needs, however, to endorse the findings of the CCC and
challenge industry to deliver its’ “aspirational” technology and
efficiency goals as a major contribution towards meeting the 2050 target.
would like to see the Government’s response to the CCC,
due next week, (w/c11th July 2011) go further. Two of our key
a). A mandatory 5 year assessment of whether or not improved technology
and new aircraft purchases are actually happening, and at what rates, as
we strive to implement the 37.5 MtCO2 emissions limit, and
b). Interim goal-setting to ensure average UK aviation emissions do not
exceed 37.5 MtCO2 in any 5 year period through to 2050.
need this kind of thorough analysis to track exactly where aviation
emissions are going – guesswork and industry promises alone are not good
Jeff Gazzard (AEF) added:
“We will see next week if the coalition Government is prepared to accept
binding limits on UK aviation emissions that reinforce their welcome
decision to say a resounding “NO” to damaging runway construction at
Heathrow and elsewhere."
aviation can still grow from approximately 220 million passengers today to
around 370 over time (4),with flights to and from the UK rising to 2.4
million, all within the CCC’s
2050 37.5 million tonnes CO2 target.
"And if the industry ever manages to move beyond the sector’s current 1%
p.a. efficiency gains – as its’ vague promises of technology advancement
perpetually claim it might! - then it may be possible to squeeze some more
flights in within the target over the next 40 years.
hope to see a consistent approach from the coalition Government that gives
the CCC aviation
report a gold star and, in so doing, reinforces their - and our! - desire
to curb rising CO2 emissions from aviation.
"Avoiding damaging climate change impacts in particular were, after all, a
powerful cornerstone of their "NO" to a 3rd runway at Heathrow policy.
"There can be no going back."
for Transport is required to make its response to the CCC’s
2009 report, on how aviation growth can be compatible with climate change
targets, by July 2011.
(1). The AirportWatch alliance comprises is a
coalition of national environmental NGOs and local community groups around
the UK’s airports and airfields.
and Climate Change Policy July 2011.pdf (34 pages - 815 KB)
(3). The previous Labour Government asked the Committee on Climate Change
to advise it on how much aviation growth was permissible if the UK was to
stay within its target to cut its overall carbon emissions to 1990 levels
by 2050. It found that flights should not grow by more than 55% (with
passenger growth no more than 60%) from today’s levels. CCC
Report Executive Summary December 2009
(4). 60% increase on more than 230 million passengers in 2008, from