Committee on Climate Change reminds Airports Commission of carbon restriction on aviation growth
Sir Howard Davies
20 Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BT
3 July 2013
We read with interest the Aviation Commission’s discussion paper “Aviation and Climate Change”.
In working out appropriate investments in aviation infrastructure, it is essential to recognise that aviation emissions are included in the target to reduce economy wide emissions by 80% in 2050 on 1990 levels, which is set in the Climate Change Act.
The fact that aviation emissions are in the 2050 target implies a trade off between emissions in this and other sectors of the economy: the higher the level of aviation emissions, the deeper the emissions cuts required in other sectors to meet the economy-wide target.
Our analysis has illustrated how the 80% target could be achieved through reducing aviation emissions to 2005 levels in 2050 and reducing emissions in other sectors by 85% on 1990 levels.
Reducing aviation emissions to 2005 levels in 2050 could be achieved through a combination of fuel and operational efficiency improvement, use of sustainable biofuels, and by limiting demand growth to around 60% in 2050 compared to 2005.
Reducing emissions in other sectors by 85% in 2050 on 1990 levels is at the limit of what is feasible, with limited confidence about the scope for going beyond this.
It is of course possible that there may be scope to reduce emissions more in other sectors, which would allow aviation demand to grow by more than 60% in 2050. However, this may well be the limit, here and in other developed countries, compatible with achieving the internationally agreed climate objective.
Given the need to limit aviation demand growth in a carbon constrained world, we
recommend that this should be reflected in your economic analysis of alternative investments.
For example, for each investment, you should assess whether this would make sense if
demand growth were to be limited to 60% by 2050.
We would be very happy to come and discuss these issues with you and the Commission if that would be useful.
Chairman, Committee on Climate Change
John Selwyn Gummer, Baron Deben – (John Gummer)
In September 2012, Lord Deben was confirmed as Chairman of the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change, succeeding Adair Turner. The committee advises the UK Government on setting and meeting carbon budgets and on preparing for the impacts of climate change.
Comment from an AirportWatch member:
DfT central 2050 constrained (ie no new runways) passenger forecast 445 mppa – a 93% increase on 2005 passengers at 230 million. So even with no new runways we are predicted to be way over 60%!
There really is no case for any new runways, to be with UK economy-wide carbon targets. What the Airports Commission needs to give serious consideration to is the No New Runways option. The only one that gives the UK a chance to meet carbon targets.