The UK aviation industry has today set out its first ever interim decarbonisation targets as the sector sets a course for achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
By 2030, the sector will look to reduce emissions by 15 per cent compared to 2019’s levels, and by 2040 it is aiming for a 40 per cent cut, said industry alliance Sustainable Aviation.
The group said the pace of decarbonisation would accelerate as innovations such as sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) become mainstream, and new technologies like electric and hydrogen powered aircraft become available.
In order to speed up the process, aviation leaders said that the government should continue to pour money into such developments to aid the UK’s post-pandemic green recovery.
Adam Morton, the chair of Sustainable Aviation, said: “UK aviation led the world last year by being the first national aviation body in the world to commit to net zero by 2050. We are now raising the bar by committing to additional interim milestones to hold ourselves accountable on this journey to Jet Zero.
“This is ambitious but achievable, and requires meaningful cooperation between industry and Government, as well as the necessary policies and funding to ensure the UK can build a world-leading SAF industry, create new clean aircraft, and modernise British airspace.”
Commenting on the announcement, transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “As the first major economy in the world to commit to net zero by 2050, we are leading the charge to cut aviation emissions through the Jet Zero Council.
“The commitment shown here by industry today builds on that work, embodying the forward thinking attitude we need to decarbonise the sector and put the UK at the forefront of green aviation”.
The UK recently up its fossil fuel emissions cuts pledges, saying it would now aim to cut emissions 78 per cent by 2035, in line with the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations.
For the first time aviation was one of the sectors explicitly targeted for emissions reductions, along with shipping. Together, the two industries make up 10 per cent of the UK’s emissions.