Letters: no joke with emissions
[Re: Offsetting a ‘bit of a joke’ says going-green airline boss, 13th October]
The chief executive of Whizz Air said the quiet bit out loud: today’s carbon offsets are a joke – and a bad one because they allow people to think that a bit of spare change can solve the climate crisis.
We need real change in how we fly. Frequent flyers – the 1 per cent of people who produce 50 per cent of aviation emissions – need to fly less, even if that’s a challenge for low-cost airlines. This needs to be matched by three big investments from the aviation industry.
First, the technology exists to decarbonise short and medium haul flights. Work by NASA shows that new engines and radically new fuselages can cut emissions by 50 to 80 per cent. But the aviation industry isn’t investing: European governments need to push Airbus into building wholly new net zero aircraft this decade. Then WhizzAir needs to buy them.
Second, we need cleaner fuels for today’s aircraft. The best option is e-kerosene – a synthetic fuel made with clean electricity. The government should mandate airlines to switch to e-kerosene and tax fossil kerosene to fund the transition.
Finally, we do need some offsets but these need to be governed properly. A new government Office for Carbon Removal would ensure that carbon credits are real and sustainable, and ensure they only go to companies investing in e-kerosene and new airplanes.