Without policy and behavioural change, efforts to develop green aviation and zero-carbon flying will not get the sector to reach its targets fast enough, the UK’s Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) argued.
“Our politicians seem to be living in a fairytale world where the aviation sector quits its dependence on fossil fuels – and overcomes all the barriers that have existed so far to decarbonisation – at no cost and with no need to curb passenger growth,” said the NGO’s policy director Cait Hewitt.
According to Hewitt, if governments don’t introduce policies that get airlines to pay for their pollution, none of the technologies currently researched will get aviation to net zero. Electric-powered or hydrogen aircraft will not be able to fly long-haul, while SAFs release as much CO2 as kerosene when burned in a plane.
“We need our leaders to stop pretending that these targets can be achieved just through new fuels and technofixes,” she said.
AEF has also called on world leaders to plan how to cater to people’s increasing needs without expanding airports or increasing passenger numbers. “The fastest way to cut emissions from flying is to fly less,” Hewitt added.
AEF’s comments come on the same day 18 countries, which make 40 per cent of aviation emissions, joined a coalition to advance the industry’s transition to net-zero.
Signatories – including major aviation players such as the UK and France – have agreed to working together through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to reach the environmental targets.
Strengthening domestically the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and promoting the deployment of SAFs and zero-carbon technologies feature among the pledges countries have agreed to.
“From our roads to the skies, the transition to zero emission transport has reached a tipping point,” commented transport secretary Grant Shapps.
Low-cost carrier Easyjet has also made a pledge of its own today, joining the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign – which aims to deliver net zero emission by 2050, City A.M. reported.
Presenting a proper roadmap within the next few months, the carrier has committed to set an interim 2035 target.
“Our ambition is to ultimately achieve net-zero emissions flying in the UK and across Europe and we are proactively working alongside industry leaders, such as Airbus and Wright Electric, to help support and champion zero-emission technologies for passenger planes of the future.”