DfT response to the CCC report on reducing aviation emissions to 2050 published

25th August 2011

The long awaited response from the Department for Transport,
to the Committee on Climate Change report on reducing aviation
emissions to 2050 has now been published.
The response as well as an assessment of the relative cost-effectiveness and
abatement potential of different measures for reducing UK aviation CO2 emissions
out to 2050, can be found at
The DfT have also published updated forecasts for UK air passengers and UK aviation
CO2 emissions to 2050, and these can be found at
In March 2011 the Government published “Developing a sustainable framework for UK Aviation: Scoping document”, starting a dialogue with stakeholders about delivering a long term aviation
policy that will enable the UK to enjoy the benefits of aviation without paying
an unacceptable environmental price.
Due to the delay to publication of the new material in response to the CCC the
DfT will now accept responses to the scoping document until close of play on Thursday
20 October 2011, although earlier responses would be welcomed.

The (38 page) DfT response document is at   

Government response to the Committee on Climate Change report on reducing CO2
emissions from UK aviation to 2050 (PDF 135 kB)
 and the (173 page) forecasts are at
UK aviation forecasts 2011 (PDF – 2000 kB) 

 Some of the main points from the UK Aviation Forecasts 2011 are:

 – The Government has said there will be no new runways in the UK and only incremental
expansion to some existing terminals. Demand only reaches capacity in 2030 – so
no need even to discuss new runways until 2020.  Not even in the Thames estuary.
 – Growth at regional airports is assumed.
 – They haven’t endorsed the CCC growth target of no increase in aviation emissions
over 2005 levels, but have broadly endorsed its approach which it will feed into
its developing aviation policy
 – The future forecasts are: Passenger numbers (currently 211 million) to grow
to between 380 – 515 million by 2050, that is between 1.5 – 2.3% annual growth,
that is less than the previous 3.7% expected growth from the Air Transport White
Paper of 2003.
 – The central passenger forecasts for 2030 are for perhaps 345 million passengers
per year, unconstrained. And perhaps 335 million constrained (or between 300 and
380 million for the lowest and highest estimates).  This is hugely less than the
500 million predicted in the 2003 Air Transport White Paper.
 – However, 345 million passengers by 2030 is 63% growth over the current 211
million level.
– The central passenger forecasts for 2050 are for perhaps 525 million passengers
per year, unconstrained. And perhaps 470 million constrained (or between 380 –
515 million for the lowest and highest estimates)
 – 470 million passengers by 2050 is 123% growth over the current 211 million
level.  Much more than double the current number.
 – Carbon dioxide emissions in 2010 were around 33.6 MtCO2, and in the central
estimates, these might rise to 47.6 MtCO2 by 2030 and to 49 MtCO2 by 2050.  (The
lowest estimates for CO2 are for 43.2 MtCO2 in 2030, falling to 39.6 MtCO2 in
2050.  The highest are around 60 MtCO2).
 – The proportion of UK aviation emissions coming from the London airports is
anticipated to fall from 74% in 2010 to 44% in 2050, as more passengers use regional
airports and the balance of long and short haul flights alters. The national importance
of Heathrow is reduced by 2030 and even more so by 2050.
 – In order to keep aviation CO2 emissions under control, the EU ETS is expected
to play a large role, as well as many operational and engineering solutions.
Biofuels (so called “sustainable” biofuels, if these can be found) are expected
to play a signifcant role, perhaps at 2.5 – 5% of the total aviation fuel by 2050
(with considerable uncertainty, ranging from 0%  to well over 20% by 2050).
 – Decisions about what to do about aviation CO2 are postponed by presenting a series
of abatement options.

– Radiative forcing, or the non-CO2 impacts of aviation emissions at altitude,
is only mentioned once. However, if the science confirms that it is a multiple
of around 2, or confirms  the effect of cirrus/contrails, all the CO2 calculations
will be obsolete.

– A glaring omission, as previously, both from the forecasts, and from the response
to the CCC on CO2, is any mention of taxation. APD is assumed to stay at its present
level.  There is no mention of the possibility that the EU may impose VAT.  No
mention in the abatement option analysis – yet increasing tax is one of the few
options that would have a positiveeconomic benefit.

 – Scoping Document response deadline extended to 20th October 2011
– The issue of future aviation growth, and its carbon emissions, are the subject
of the current Scoping Document consultation, and will also be in the second DfT
consultation on UK aviation policy in 2012, before the final  policy is published
in 2013.
Table 2.7  UK terminal passenger forecasts (unconstrained) mppa
(million passsengers per annum)  (on Page 44)
                    Low   Central    High
2010              211     211     211
2015              230     240     250
2020              260     275     295
2025              285     301     345
2030              305     345     400
2035              325     380     460
2040              350     425     530
2045              375     475     610
2050              400     525     700
of these, Table 2.7 has also extremes of LowLow and HighHigh of between 275 mppa
to 445  mppa in 2030 and between 350 and 825 mppa by 2050, compared to the Central
figures of 345 mppa for 2030 and 520 for 2050.
The 345 million figure is 63% higher than the current level.
The 470 million figure is 123% higher than the current level.


By contrast, the equivalent figures from the DfT 2009 passenger forecasts
on page 42 of http://bit.ly/neRrnK
Table 2.9:  UK terminal passegers forecast (unconstrained) mppa
                      Low     Central     High
2010            245        228        228
2015            280        315        330
2020            325        365        385
2025            370        410        435
2030            415        465        500


Table 2.11  UK terminal passenger forecasts ‘max use’capacity  mppa
(million passsengers per annum)  (on Page 48)
                     Low   Central    High
2010              211     211     211
2015              230     235     250
2020              255     270     295
2025              275     305     335
2030              300     335     380
2035              320     365     430
2040              340     405     465
2045              365     445     500
2050              380     470     515


Table 3.5: UK Aviation CO2 forecasts to 2050, MtCO2 (Page 84)
                   Low        Central        High
2010           33.4           33.4         33.6
2020           39.8           42.9         45.1
2030           43.2           47.6         53.4
2040           43.3           51.1         60.4
2050           39.6           49.0         58.4
of these, Table 3.9 has also extremes of LowLow and HighHigh of between 39 MtCO2
to 59.4 MtCO2 in 2030 and between 35 and 55.7 MtCO2 by  2050, compared to the
Central figures of 47.6 for 2030 and 49 for 2050.


By contrast, the equivalent figures from the DfT 2009 CO2 forecasts
on page 82 of http://bit.ly/neRrnK
Table 3.6:  Aviation carbon emisison forecasts to 2050 MtCO2
                     Low     Central     High
2010              39.4        41.0        41.7
2020              45.1        50.3        52.9
2030              51.8        58.4        61.6
2040              53.8        61.1        65.0
2050              53.0        59.9        65.0


Table 3.10 (on Page 88) gives CO2 emissions per airport, using central estimates.
 Some of these are:
                              Emissions MtCO2                  Share of total UK Departure CO2
                              2010      2030      2050              2010   2030     2050
Heathrow                18.9        23.1     14.9                56%      48%   30%
Gatwick                    3.8          3.8        3.7                11%      8%       8%
Stansted                  1.3          2.0       1.8                  4%       4%       4%
London Total           24.7        30.4      21.7                74%     64%   44%
Other UK airports     6.9        14.1        24.9               21%     30%     51%
Freight                     1.1        1.9          1.1                 3%         4%      2%
Total                       33.45     47.57      48.96             100%    100%    100%


Tables with detail of passenger forecasts by airport

 Page 149

Table G.2: Constrained terminal passenger forecasts, UK airports (central forecast)

 Page 150
Table G.3: Constrained terminal passengers, overall forecast range, 2030 &

Also details of flights by purpose and region

Page 147
Table G.1: Unconstrained (NAPDM) forecasts of passengers by purpose and world
region (mppa)
(showing projections of short haul, long haul, leisure, business, domestic etc
see also

No new runways before 2050 but more action needed to stabilise aviation emissions,
says Government

25th August 2011     The Aviation Environment Federation has given its initial reaction to the DfT
reports. The AEF says even with no new runways in the UK the forecasts suggest
that emissions from UK aviation will grow from 37.5 million tonnes of CO2 in 2005
to around 49 MtCO2 by 2050.  To keep emissions at or below their 2005 level additional
steps would be needed  and the range of policy levers considered by the DfTfor
tackling aviation’s predicted emissions growth is very limited.    Click here to view full story…

Excerpts from the introduction to the Aviation Forecasts:
UK aviation forecasts 2011 (PDF – 2000 kB) 
The updated forecasts presented in this report represent the DfT’s assessment
of how activity at UK airports and the associated CO2 emissions are likely to
change into the future, given existing policy commitments. Their primary purpose
is to inform long term strategic aviation policy. The updated CO2 forecasts have
been central to the MAC curve analysis, forming the baseline against which a range
of policy options for reducing CO2 emissions from UK aviation have been assessed.
The forecasts will also inform the development of other aspects of policy, including,
for example, wider Government policy on tackling climate change.
1.4This report updates UK Air Passenger Demand and CO2 Forecasts, 2009, published
under the previous administration alongside the announcement of its decision to
confirm support for a third runway at Heathrow airport. As well as presenting
the DfT’s latest aviation forecasts, it explains in detail the forecasting methods
and assumptions used to produce them.
1.5The updated forecasts reflect several key developments since 2009. They are explained
in more detail elsewhere in the report and include:
 the Government’s policy not to support new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or
Stansted; the decision to include aviation in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) from
2012;5 the Government’s policy to support the development of a high speed rail route
running from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds6; changes to Air Passenger Duty rates; changes to projections of economic growth and oil prices; and developments to the forecasting methodology resulting from a process of continual
1.6The forecasts are presented as ranges to reflect the inherent uncertainty involved
in forecasting to 2050. Low and high forecasts have been defined to represent
either end of a range of reasonably likely outcomes, and a central forecast has
been defined to lie broadly in the middle of the range. The results of a series
of sensitivity tests, in which the key inputs to the forecasts are varied, are
also reported.
……………..  These forecasts are based on the assumption that there will
be no new runways in the UK, with only incremental developments to airport terminals
to make maximum use of existing runways. The upper and lower bounds of the range
of forecasts are derived by combining sensitivity tests in which the projections
of the key drivers of air passenger demand are varied. The central forecasts are
based on central projections for each driver.
1.11The main factors driving the range in passenger forecasts are different assumptions
about future economic growth, growth in oil and EU ETS carbon allowance prices,
the effects of market maturity on air travel demand and the extent to which there
will be a ‘bounce-back’ of demand following the significant reductions observed
as a result of the financial crisis.
1.12The number of air passengers using UK airports is forecast to recover from the
recent downturn, rising from 211 million passengers per annum (mppa) in 2010 to
335mppa in 2030 (within the range 300mppa to 380 mppa), and to 470mppa in 2050
(within the range 380mppa to 515 mppa).
These forecasts imply average annual growth in passenger numbers to 2050 of 2.0%
(within the range 1.5-2.3%) significantly lower than the 3.7% average seen over
the past twenty years.
………….1.14The national unconstrained forecasts are shown in Figure 1.2. These forecasts
suggest that, if there were no airport capacity constraints, UK air travel demand
would rise from 211 million passengers per annum (mppa) in 2010 to 345mppa in
2030 under the central forecast, within the range 305mppa to 400mppa. By 2050
the central forecast is for 520mppa within the range of 400mppa to 700mppa.
1.15A comparison of the forecasts in Figure 1.1 with the unconstrained forecasts
in Figure 1.2 shows that the number of UK air passengers is forecast to be constrained
by airport capacity. If there are no new runways in future, by 2050 the number
of passengers is forecast to be 50mppa (within the range 20mppa to 185mppa) lower
than it would have been if there were no airport capacity constraints.
Capacity constraints have a greater effect at the airport level. For example,
the central forecasts suggest that without new runways the three largest London
airports will be at capacity by 2030, and all growth beyond 2040 will occur at
regional airports.
1.16The forecasts of UK aviation CO2 emissions cover emissions produced by all flights
departing UK airports to 2050, adjusted to match the DECC published estimate of
outturn aviation CO2 emissions in the base year7. The forecasts therefore include
CO2 emitted from all domestic and international flights departing UK airports,
irrespective of the nationality of passengers or carriers and include all freighter
1.17The approach taken to producing UK aviation CO2 forecasts remains broadly the
same as that reported in UK Air Passenger Demand and CO2 Forecasts 2009. However,
like the air passenger and ATM (air transport movements) forecasts, the updated
forecasts reflect an extensive programme of model updates and enhancements. The
key developments include:
 updated ATM forecasts; modification of assumed aircraft fuel burn rates to reflect advice from independent
experts; and extension of fleet turnover model to operate to 2050 and to expand maximum
number of aircraft types to 150 (from 70 previously)
1.18Chapter 3 and Annex C provide full details of the methodology and assumptions
underpinning the updated aviation CO2 forecasts. Annex E explains the changes
made to the forecasting methodology since 2009.
1.20Following the drop in emissions associated with the impact of the recent financial
crisis and global economic slowdown on aviation activity, UK aviation CO2 emissions
are forecast to grow steadily without further government intervention over the
next twenty years. They grow from 34 MtCO2 in 2010 to 48 MtCO2 in 2030 in the
central forecasts.
Post 2030, the effects of market maturity and airport capacity constraints cause
the growth of activity at UK airports to slow. Improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency
are expected to continue beyond 2030 and, in the central and high forecasts, biofuels
are expected to penetrate the aircraft fleet as kerosene and EU ETS allowance
prices increase. By 2040, the balance of these two effects causes emissions to
stabilise, before starting to fall by 2050.
and it continues …………..