Evan Davis “The Bottom Line” programme on aviation industry CO2 – basically “there is no plan”…
Evan Davis has done an edition of the BBC programme “The Bottom Line” on aviation and its claims about cutting its carbon emissions. His interview is revealing, in making clear how empty the industry’s claims of reducing its CO2 in future really are. Sector representatives admit it has broken its own pledges to grow carbon neutrally and lacks firm plans to achieve it by 2050. They talk about changing the sort of planes that fly, though ignoring that any new plane model that could fundamentally cut CO2 emissions per passenger is decades away, and all planes remain in service for perhaps 30 years. There is foolish over-optimism that electric planes might eventually transport enough passengers to make a difference – but it is decades away. All the current changes they are mentioning cut CO2 by far smaller amounts than the anticipated annual growth of the industry. As Evan says, “But this is sort of hot air…we’re used to from the aviation industry: ‘we’re all taking this very seriously, we’re signing up to these targets, by the way we missed it the last time we did it, but we’re ever more ambitions in the target we’re going to sign up to… there’s no plan.’ “
The Future of Commercial Aviation
How can the aviation industry marry sustainability with increasing passenger numbers – with more and more of us flying cheaply since the deregulation of the airlines.
Listen to the programme at
from 17.40 minutes in:
Evan Davis: So what we know is, though, is that growth is exceeding the ability for the industry to improve its emissions. What are you guys going to do? Come on, I mean 2050, we’re meant to be on net zero carbon. What is the aviation industry expecting to deliver by 2050?
Industry: Ten years ago IATA made a pledge to grow neutrally with respect to carbon by 2020. We’re now in 2019. We haven’t yet been able to achieve that growth (50 per cent reduction by 2050).
Evan Davis: Let’s assume that is going to be a Paris compatible target – a 50 per cent reduction by 2050. How on earth are you going to do that?
Industry: It’s going to fundamentally come with the insertion of new technology… There’s going to have to be some breakthrough technology…hybrid electric propulsion…
ED: But the point you’re saying is, you don’t have an answer…how far away is the hybrid plane for a start?
Industry: For long haul, I would say at least ten years. It takes five to ten years to develop a new aircraft so you’ve starting from scratch.
ED: You’re not even remotely close to that.
Industry: …it’s a challenge the industry is facing and investing to…
ED: But this is sort of hot air…we’re used to from the aviation industry: ‘we’re all taking this very seriously, we’re signing up to these targets, by the way we missed it the last time we did it, but we’re ever more ambitions in the target we’re going to sign up to… there’s no plan.’