World Economic Forum report identifies biofuels as the ‘game changer’ to achieve aviation emission targets
2050 will be a significant challenge given an 85% CO2 emissions reduction gap.
in newer and more fuel-efficient aircraft expected during the timeframe. The report
identifies four key levers to reduce aviation carbon emissions:
efficiency improvement potential of other technological innovations but 13.6 million
barrels of sustainable second generation biofuels with significantly lower lifecycle
CO2 emissions would be required daily by 2050 to meet the target.
necessary funds for the implementation of the necessary technological and infrastructure
improvements and it will require the involvement of capital markets, private equity
and, for developing countries, the multilateral development banks to fill in the
Booz & Company, demand for passenger and cargo is projected to grow by 4.5%
per year, from 540 billion revenue tonne kilometres in 2010 to 3,000 billion in
3% a year, from 630 million tonnes in 2010 to around 2,000 million tonnes in 2050,
assuming industry fleet improvements take place to replace old aircraft and cover
demand growth with newer more fuel and CO2 efficient aircraft.
of 330 million tonnes in 2050 would equal almost three times today’s total aviation
it can grow and still reach its CO2 targets,” says the report.
and urgency of implementing aviation infrastructure improvements such as the US
NextGen and the Single European Sky air traffic management projects. Industry
should also work with policy-makers to develop financial and legal incentives
to increase investment into incremental R&D for radical new aircraft technologies
and to drive vertical partnerships with stakeholders along the entire biofuel
with ICAO in the development of a global sectoral approach on market-based measures
for aviation through partnerships with experts from the carbon finance community,
and ensure that any measures that are developed focus on incentivising the parties
best placed to make the CO2 abatement investment.
investment in reducing carbon by the aviation industry. Given that the report
had a considerable input from airline and aviation interests, it unsurprisingly
rejects green taxes and levies that are currently being implemented or discussed
in different countries. It cautions that “taxes usually result in a net outflow
of funds from the industry that inhibits investment in CO2 reduction projects.”
is likely to occur with such measures through the cost increase of air travel
if carriers pass costs on to customers and the resulting likely slight decrease
in air traffic. “In addition, the potential macroeconomic effect of more expensive
and thus reduced air travel on GDP and economic development must be considered,”
it says, adding that aviation is an important enabler for the trade of goods,
tourism, services and the socioeconomic development of nations.
the industry target would represent a shift to 90% sustainable biofuels in 2050,
estimates the report’s researchers. [ 13.6 million barrels per day works out at 4.9 billion barrels per year. This
is well over 6 times current global biofuels production. AirportWatch calculation.
biggest challenge would be in building up the supply of sustainable biofuels and promoting their prioritisation for use in the aviation sector.
quantum leap in technology and increase production,” he said. “The necessary market
dynamics will only develop if governments set the right incentives for the agricultural
sector, energy producers and the airlines to incubate a global aviation biofuel
production system. Due to the early stage of development and high risks involved
with aviation biofuels, a new innovative approach of all involved stakeholders
and government stakeholders to engage in a wider discussion among themselves and
with non-governmental communities to “build a practical enabling environment that
should be conducive to catalysing a step change in private sector action to decrease
aviation CO2 emissions, develop and deploy revolutionary existing and new technologies,
and provide sustainable investment choices at scale and speed.”
energy and financial services industries, governments, universities and international
Aviation’ report (download)
2020, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10% over the forecast period
2015 – 2020. (That’s about half of current Saudi oil production).
demand of 4.9 billion barrels biofuel by 2050)