Government response to CCC advice on how the UK will achieve net-zero; woefully poor on cutting aviation CO2
The Government has produced “The Government Response to the Committee on Climate Change’s 2019 Progress Report to Parliament – Reducing UK emissions”. It is very weak on aviation, stating: “The Aviation 2050 Green Paper was published in December 2018 and proposed accepting the CCC’s long-standing planning assumption that for an economy-wide target of an 80% emissions reduction, aviation emissions in 2050 should be no higher than those in 2005 (i.e. 37.5 MtCO2e). It also proposed a requirement that airports’ planning applications for capacity growth must demonstrate that their emissions do not impact on our ability to meet carbon reduction targets.” No mention of the UK zero carbon target, ie. 100 % cuts, not the 80%. It says: “Following the aviation advice we received from the CCC in September 2019, we intend to consult on how we are going to achieve a sustainable growth of the aviation sector and update our position on aviation and climate change.” While the CCC recommended formal inclusion of international aviation and shipping emissions in the Climate Change Act net-zero target, all the DfT says is it is “minded to include these emissions in domestic legislation at a later date, subject to future progress in ICAO.”
The Government has produced
“Leading on Clean Growth”.
Presented to Parliament pursuant to section 37 of the Climate Change Act 2008 October 2019
“The Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) annual Progress Report, published in July, recognised the progress that has been made. It also set out some tough messages about the need for further action across the economy – ….
….”And today we are setting out further actions that we will take to deliver net zero and meet our carbon budgets.”
“A new, holistic Transport Decarbonisation Plan is under development to step up the pace of progress towards a cleaner, more sustainable and innovative transport network.
“And in order to strengthen the cross-government effort to deliver clean growth we will, after we leave the EU, establish new governance arrangements to drive forward our efforts – potentially including a new cabinet sub-committee on climate change.”
The sections relating to Aviation are copied below:
10 Key Achievements in Transport
Since last year, we have:
6. Published the Aviation 2050 Green Paper (Ref 349) which sets a clear approach to tackling greenhouse gas emissions from aviation, with an update to our position on aviation and climate change to be published in the coming months and a full Aviation strategy next year.
7. Announced the Aerospace Sector Deal (Ref 350), alongside a package of measures that will put the UK at the forefront of the electrified air transport revolution by 2025 – such as the Future Flight Challenge (Ref 351), which provides £125 million of funding to develop future flight, including electric planes.
8. Made available up to £20 million of matched capital funding for innovation projects that will address barriers in progressing the production of advanced fuels for aviation and heavy duty vehicles, through the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C) (Ref 352).
9. Launched a consultation on the UK’s long-term approach to carbon pricing once we have left the European Union, which includes aviation, and a call for evidence on carbon offsetting in transport.
Over the past year, the government has continued to lay the groundwork for the action we will need to take in order to tackle emissions from aviation and shipping. The Aviation 2050 Green Paper was published in December 2018 and proposed accepting the CCC’s long-standing planning assumption that for an economy-wide target of an 80% emissions reduction, aviation emissions in 2050 should be no higher than those in 2005 (i.e. 37.5 MtCO2e). It also proposed a requirement that airports’ planning applications for capacity growth must demonstrate that their emissions do not impact on our ability to meet
carbon reduction targets.
Following the aviation advice we received from the CCC in September 2019 (Ref 363), we intend to consult on how we are going to achieve a sustainable growth of the aviation sector and update our position on aviation and climate change.
We have launched our Maritime 2050 strategy, setting out our ambition for the UK to become a world leader in the transition to clean maritime and enhance our position as a leading global maritime nation. In July 2019, we published the Clean Maritime Plan – the environment route map to a zero-emission shipping future, which includes a range of policies to reduce shipping emissions while encouraging clean growth and economic opportunities for the UK.
Alongside our domestic strategies, the UK has led international efforts on cost-effective emissions reductions and robust emissions inventory practices in the international aviation and shipping sectors, working through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The government will continue its efforts to promote sustainability in aviation and shipping, and in the coming months we will be publishing the UK government and the Devolved Administrations’ response to the recent consultation on the UK’s future approach to carbon pricing, including in the aviation sector, and our response to the call for evidence on carbon offsetting in transport. We will shortly be updating the government’s position on aviation and climate change, with the final Aviation Strategy due to be published next year.
These actions are all part of a single concerted approach to dramatically reduce emissions from our road, rail, maritime and aviation networks as we move people and goods more sustainably. They will also enable the early adoption of innovative, low-carbon transport technologies which could put the UK at the forefront of the transport decarbonisation challenge and strengthen its international leadership even further.
Formal inclusion of international aviation and shipping emissions in Climate Change Act targets. Strategies for aviation and shipping that reflect the net zero target.
Aviation and shipping emissions are global issues that require global solutions. The exclusion of international aviation and shipping emissions in the UK’s carbon budgets and 2050 emissions target is consistent with the Paris Agreement, which looks to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop targets. No practice for allocating such emissions to individual states has yet been agreed internationally, and we will continue to account for international aviation and shipping emissions via “headroom” within our existing carbon budgets. However, we recognise the importance of a good international inventory and we are also minded to include these emissions in domestic legislation at a later date, subject to future progress in the IMO and ICAO.
The UK will continue to lead international efforts to agree robust emissions inventory practices and negotiate cost-effective emissions reductions. The UK is one of a number of states who are co-funding the IMO’s fourth GHG Inventory exercise for shipping emissions and we were instrumental in agreeing the first worldwide measures to reduce emissions in a single sector in the form of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
The UK has also worked hard through ICAO to develop robust emissions criteria for aviation offsets, which were approved by the ICAO Council on 4 March 2019. This goes a long way to securing a scheme that is environmentally robust. We will also negotiate in ICAO for a long-term goal for international aviation that is consistent with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, ideally by ICAO’s 41st Assembly in 2022.
The government also continues to take action at a domestic level. Over the last year, we have published our Maritime 2050 strategy, our Clean Maritime Plan and our Aviation 2050 Green Paper, and we will publish an ambitious Aviation Strategy next year. In developing these and future strategies, we have and will continue to consider the implications of our 2050 net zero target and we have set out a robust and comprehensive approach to tackling aviation and shipping emissions which will also consider the role of synthetic fuels.
While decarbonisation takes place, to gather information on how consumers can help reduce their emissions, the government has launched a call for evidence on carbon offsetting in transport. We have also published a consultation on the UK’s future approach to carbon pricing, including in the aviation sector.
and there is lots more on subjects other than aviation…. see link
DfT to Publish Aviation Strategy
Was intended to be in first half of 2019. Now due early 2020.
DfT (2019), Aviation 2050 — the future of UK aviation, https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/aviation-2050-the-future-of-uk-aviation
Aerospace Sector Deal (2018), https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/aerospace-sector-deal
Heathrow expansion dealt huge blow by Committee on Climate Change aviation carbon advice
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has advised the Government that aviation will become the biggest source of carbon in the UK by 2050 and that expansion at Heathrow leaves very little room for growth at any other airport. In the letter, CCC Chair Lord Deben states that demand for aviation will need to be reduced and policies implemented to help limit that demand. The CCC state that Government need to reassess its airport capacity strategy to ensure that the increase in air travel demand by 2050 is half what is currently predicted. They suggest that a frequent flyer levy would help to curb the demand for growth or alternatively Government could raise taxes on airlines or restrict airport capacity growth. In a direct blow to aviation industry claims of technological solutions to aviation’s carbon problem, the CCC states that zero-carbon aviation is highly unlikely to be feasible by 2050. It estimates that aviation emissions could be reduced by around just 20% through improvements to fuel efficiency, some use of low carbon fuels, and limiting demand growth. Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: “The Government must now commit to amending the Airports National Policy Statement in light of the climate emergency.”
Committee on Climate Change advice to the Government on aviation: it must be included in the UK net-zero target
The advice from the Government’s statutory advisors on climate issues, the CCC, to the Government, says it is important that the carbon emissions of international aviation and shipping (IAS) are formally included into the UK net-zero target. This needs to complement international action to reduce aviation carbon. The CCC letter, from its Chairman Lord Deben, says the aim should be for international aviation to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and this should be reflected in the Government’s forthcoming Aviation Strategy . “It means reducing actual emissions in the IAS sectors” and the CCC considers this “is likely to require some use of greenhouse gas removals (GGRs) to offset remaining emissions.” The limit of 30 MtCO2 per year, by UK aviation, requires demand growth of no more than 25% compared to 2018. That would only be possible if there are significant improvements in aircraft efficiency, maybe 10% of low carbon fuels, and some increased flight charges. But the UK is aiming at net zero by 2050. The CCC says aviation will have to pay to capture some CO2 from the atmosphere, and that only offsets that actually remove CO2 – rather than trying to stop more being emitted, would be acceptable.
Committee on Climate Change advice to government on aviation: flying will have to become more expensive
In a letter to Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC – the government’s statutory advisor) warns that flying will have to become more expensive, especially for frequent flyers, to avoid climate chaos and keep the UK within its carbon targets. The letter also warns that going ahead with a Heathrow 3rd runway would all but rule out airport expansion in the rest of the country. Demand for aviation will have to be reduced, in order that aviation carbon is kept under some degree of control, while the UK has a zero carbon target for 2050. Ways demand could be reduced might be increased APD, new levies on frequent flyers and changes to air taxation relative to rail and road. Aviation is likely to become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 2050. The CCC says the government “should assess its airport capacity strategy in the context of net zero. Specifically, investments will need to be demonstrated to make economic sense in a net-zero world…” In other words, does it make sense to build another Heathrow runway, when future demand for air travel will have to be limited. The CCC’s Chairman, Chris Stark said: “But it’s very important that the government is honest about aviation emissions.”