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New report on aviation and climate change

12th July, 2011

Ahead of the Government’s response to the Committee on Climate Change report Meeting the UK Aviation Target, a report by has been published by Airport Watch, arguing for the importance of a sector-specific CO2 target for the sector.

Key recommendations include the following.

* The over-riding aim for a sustainable aviation policy should be to ensure the sector makes a fair contribution towards meeting the UK’s overall climate change targets, especially the legal requirement for an 80% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. This will require confirmation of the 2050 Target, as well as robust mechanisms to ensure the sector is on track to meet it, and a mechanism to review its stringency in light of developments in climate change policy or the science of aviation’s non-CO2 impacts.

* Since the UK airport system, in terms of planning permissions granted, is already today close to the maximum number of passengers compatible with achieving the 2050 target, the Government must urgently clarify that the White Paper no longer affords a basis to support expansion of any airport, and should only release additional capacity when the industry has demonstrated that efficiency improvements mean that it can be ‘afforded’ in terms of emissions.

* Government should ensure that aviation taxation recoups as far as possible the revenue lost via fuel tax and VAT exemptions, and develop a package of measures to support alternatives such as rail travel, domestic holidays and virtual meetings.

* It should seek to strengthen the terms of aviation’s inclusion in the EU ETS during any general review of the ETS. Any increase in auctioning revenues should be directed to climate change projects in the developing world, as part of the effort to negotiate a multilateral global deal coverall all international aviation emissions.

For the full report see note (2) under this AirportWatch press release.