UK aviation targets net zero carbon emissions by 2050

The UK Sustainable Aviation coalition has backed a commitment to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050 and unveiled a roadmap of how it plans to get there.

According to the roadmap, the UK will be able to cut net emission levels from just over 30mn tonnes of CO2 a year to zero by 2050, while also accommodating a 70% growth in passengers through its recommended actions. Introducing known and new, more efficient aircraft, will save 23.5MtCO2 per year, said the roadmap, while effective market-based measures (25.8MtCO2), use of sustainable aviation fuels (14.4MtCO2), carbon pricing impact on demand (4.3MtCO2) and better air traffic management and operating procedures (3.1MtCO2) are also forecast to make an impact. Under a “no improvement” scenario, UK aviation would generate 71MtCO2 a year by 2050.

The coalition said delivering the roadmap will require a partnership approach with government, ensuring opportunities to cut emission are realised through smart low carbon policies, collaborative actions from outside of the aviator sector, and substantial investment from industry and government in the next generation of sustainable aviation breakthroughs. It added that with aviation a global industry, the UK government and industry must take an international approach, ensuring that actions taken do not cause unintended carbon emissions elsewhere or risk undermining the UK’s international connectivity.

Specific areas in which the coalition is seeking UK government support for its commitment are maintaining and enhancing support for aerospace research and development; supporting the commercial deployment of sustainable aviation fuels at scale; delivering critical airspace modernisation; and working internationally to deliver effective, global market-based policy measures that address residual aviation emissions and set a clear, long-term CO2 target for global aviation.

Sustainable Aviation