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Demand for flights needs to be tackled to bring aviation emissions in line with climate targets, concludes Australian research

“The chances of stabilising aviation emissions without restricting demand are diminutive”, concludes a working paper by Andrew Macintosh and Lailey Wallace at the Australian National University. The study, International aviation emissions to 2025: Can emissions be stabilised without restricting demand?, provides an overview of aviation’s climate impacts, analyses recent trends in the aviation industry, projects international civil aviation emissions over the period 2005 – 2025, and analyses the emission intensity improvements that would be needed to offset the projected increases in demand.

The report findings suggest that “international aviation carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will increase by more than 110 per cent between 2005 and 2025 (from 416 Mt to between 876 – 1,013 Mt)”. Global greenhouse gas emissions will need to be dramatically reduced over the coming decades in order to keep the increase in the global average surface temperature to less than 2°C, write the authors. “Sharp increases in emissions from any sector are inconsistent with this objective, including the aviation industry.”

This work contributes to a growing body of research suggesting that aviation growth projections globally are inconsisent with efforts to tackle climate change.