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Net zero CO2 consultation ignores aircraft emissions

The Government is currently consulting on proposals to introduce a target for airports to achieve zero emissions without offsetting by 2040. (too little too late?)

Flights are typically responsible for 95% of the emissions arising from an Airport’s activities. But the zero emissions target doesn’t include flights so its effect, if the expected recommendations are implemented, will be minimal even if it is welcome.

The government's target would actually require a massive reduction or near complete cessation, of flights if it included the CO2 emissions from planes too.

It is possible to decarbonise many airport operations on the ground, but there are no technologies that can do this, on a large scale within an acceptable time scale, for aircraft. The only plan for flights, other than so-called "sustainable aviation fuels" would be speculative future CO2 removal from the atmosphere.

The consultation document says that “The zero-emissions airport target is not intended to hamper economic growth at airports, but to provide a social licence for growth.” So growth is prioritised over reducing aviation’s contribution to climate change and environmental pollution.

The consultation might make it look as if the aviation industry is making a serious effort to cut its damaging emissions. But the industry isn’t doing that, it’s going for expansion at any cost.


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