UK environmental committee launches inquiry into curbing aviation, shipping emissions
The UK parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) launched July 20 an inquiry into how the government can reach net zero emissions by 2050 for the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping.
Aviation and shipping account for 10% of UK greenhouse gas emissions and, on current trends, aviation will be the largest emitting sector by 2050, which the government is looking to tackle as part of its net-zero 2050 strategy.
“This inquiry will look at the ability of technologies, fuels and operational efficiencies to reduce both sector’s emissions and what government action is needed at a national and international level to meet its stated targets,” the EAC said.
Under the inquiry, the EAC said it is looking for submissions on issues including how close zero carbon fuels are to commercialization for aviation and shipping, equitable ways to reduce aircraft passenger numbers, and how the UK defines its ownership of international aviation and shipping emissions.
The inquiry comes a week after the government proposed a wide-ranging transport decarbonization plan, which targets net-zero domestic aviation emissions by 2040, a transition to green domestic shipping and seeks to create a net-zero rail network by 2050.
The consultation also proposes an earlier target for UK domestic aviation to reach net-zero by 2040, as well as for all airport operations in England to be zero-emission by 2040, in a move expected to support demand and production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).
The government also said in March it was planning to boost tax revenues from long-haul flights as part of the country’s commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Last month, the UK’s Sustainable Aviation coalition of airlines, airports, and aircraft makers set new targets for the industry to reduce absolute net emissions by at least 15% by 2030 and at least 40% by 2040, against a 2019 baseline.
The reductions were expected to come from improved aircraft efficiency, higher SAF uptake with smaller contributions from hydrogen, fully electric and hybrid-electric aircraft.
Written evidence for the EAC inquiry is being accepted until Sept. 3.