21st February, 2022
“Johan Lundgren says it’s “intellectually lazy” to argue that not flying is the best way to cut aviation emissions. I wonder if he’s seen the academic analysis from UK FIRES on this issue. It’s not light reading. Having reviewed all low-carbon options for aviation between now and the 2050 net zero deadline, it concludes that Lundgren’s industry has left it too late to develop enough new aircraft, renewable energy, carbon capture, and carbon capture storage facilities to balance the carbon books in time.
“What is “intellectually lazy”, I’d argue, is to go straight from observing that aviation brings people benefits (of course it does), to concluding that we must, despite the climate emergency, carry on flying to get these benefits rather than, say, using video conferencing and taking domestic holidays to cut emissions from business travel and tourism.
“Lundgren says “we’ve done our job at Easyjet on this whole thing”. But there is not a single commercial aircraft in operation that doesn’t emit CO2, and no scalable zero-carbon technology is on the horizon. It’s hard to say whether this is because of laziness, complacency, lack of regulation, or simply the barriers of physics. But if we want to find solutions, we need to face the facts.”