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Time to square the circle and bring aviation inside the carbon budget

5th April, 2012


The time has come for aviation emissions to be brought within the UK’s carbon budgets, the Government’s official climate advisers said today. The 2008 Climate Act omitted emissions from international aviation and shipping because of debate about how account for them, but the data now exists – including, for aviation, emissions information collected through the EU Emissions Trading System – to make this possible, says the Committee on Climate Change.

The Committee is already required by the 2008 Act to ‘take account of’ these emissions when setting the carbon budgets for other sectors, so formal inclusion of aviation and shipping should not in fact have any impact on the carbon budgets that have already been approved by Government for other sectors, and for the UK as a whole.

AEF Deputy Director Cait Hewitt said:

“People in the UK fly more than anyone else in the world so it is right for us to take the lead in tackling the growth in aviation emissions.

“If the Government accepts the advice of its climate change advisers, aviation will be included on much more generous terms than those agreed for other sectors, with aviation allowed to increase its emissions by 120% of 1990 levels by 2050 while other sectors are expected to make cuts of 80% by then. But by including aviation in the carbon budgets we can make sure that the books balance and that steps to move the UK towards a greener economy aren’t scuppered by runaway aviation growth.

“If people and businesses want to carry on flying, we need to plan the future in a way that takes account of emissions from aircraft.”

For more detailed commentary, see Aviation should be included in the UK’s carbon budgets, Government advisors recommend