On 4th March, shortly before the Coronavirus lockdown began, the Government published Decarbonising Transport: setting the challenge, designed to represent the ‘first step’ towards a pathway to achieving carbon budgets and net zero emissions across every single mode of transport by 2050, it says.
Some transport campaigners see this document as a breath of fresh air from the Department for Transport, in particular its goal that ‘public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities’. But on aviation, all we see is – yet again –the Government’s failure to come up with any ideas or policies for bringing the sector into line with the wider decarbonisation agenda.
‘Decarbonising transport’ glosses over the issue of whether international transport is included and says that a consultation on net zero aviation will be published ‘later this year’. Our concern is that an aviation climate policy always seems to be promised ‘soon’ or ‘later’, and we’ve been waiting almost nine months now for this particular consultation to see the light of day. The process for developing the aviation strategy, which an aviation climate consultation would feed in to, meanwhile seems to have ground to a halt.
We’ve argued, in our response to DfT, that the transport decarbonisation plan must take on the challenge of developing policy to tackling aviation emissions. Our submission sets out five reasons for this:
We conclude with an outline of some of the components of an aviation climate policy plan that would help to ensure decarbonisation in line with net zero. “The most important overarching measure”, we argue “that could and should be implemented to decarbonise aviation would be the explicit inclusion of international aviation emissions in the UK’s carbon accounts.”
For our full response, click here.