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Government defers decision on whether to include international aviation emissions in UK carbon budgets

Blaming “uncertainty over the international framework for reducing aviation emissions and particularly the treatment of aviation within the EU Emissions Trading System” the Government announced today that it will defer a decision on how to account for aviation emissions in UK climate policy.

Under the Climate Act 2008, the Government was required to take a decision by the end of this year about whether emissions from international aviation and shipping should be included in the UK’s five-yearly carbon budgets. The Committee on Climate Change, set up to ensure that the UK is on track to deliver an 80% emissions reduction by 2050, has so far been bound by the Act to ‘take account of’ these emissions but not to formally include them in carbon accounts. The Committee itself advised Government earlier this year that there is now no good reason for leaving international aviation and shipping out of the budgets.

Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director at AEF, said: “the Climate Change Act 2008 is a world-leading piece of legislation, designed to ensure that we play our part in limiting dangerous global warming. But to be effective it must apply to all sectors of the economy. With the Committee on Climate Change having advised that inclusion of aviation and shipping need not result in any costs beyond those already accepted, we are disappointed that the Government has further postponed a decision on whether to accept the advice of its own climate experts.”

International aviation and shipping emissions and the UK’s carbon budgets and 2050 target