Plans are being put in place to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Sustainable Aviation are looking into cleaner engines, new fuels, and planting trees as ways of reaching the proposed goal.
Although passenger numbers are expected to rise by 70%, the plan will mean airlines can still cut pollution. Sustainable Aviation, has announced they will be taking an “international approach, working with governments around the world and through the UN.” The industry believes the UK can reduce its emissions of CO2 from 30 million tonnes a year to zero, without restricting growth.
Campaigners, however, believe the only way to cut airline pollution is to reduce air travel and stop plans to build new airports or expand current ones. According to the BBC, Muna Suleiman from Friends of the Earth says: “We need to restrict flying. We can’t have airport expansion at the same time.” Suleiman also believes taxes should be applied to frequent fliers as rail travel and buses are greener alternatives.
The UK’s flagship airline, British Airways (BA) is investing in a project to make fuel from rubbish. In August 2019 the airline sent out a press release stating: “The technology, built by Velocys, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent for every tonne of sustainable jet fuel that replaces a tonne of conventional fossil fuel – equivalent to taking up to 40,000 cars per year off the road.”
BA also plan to stop using older planes, including the double-decker Boeing 747 which will be phased out in 2024.
Meanwhile, TUI Group has appointed a new sustainability director, Charlotte Wwiebe, who will be in charge of putting forward their new 2030 Sustainability Strategy. The plan involves four key values; step lightly, make a difference, lead the way and care more. The news comes after the former director Jane Ashton left the company for a similar role at easyJet.
easyJet has also released information on their website regarding commitments towards the planet: “For every single flight we operate, we’ll offset the carbon from the fuel used, by investing in projects that include the planting of trees or protecting against deforestation and renewable energies.”
Heathrow Airport, British Airways, easyJet, Rolls Royce, Airbus and traffic controller Nats are all members of Sustainable Aviation.
The government also plans to reduce the UKs carbon emissions by banning the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2035. Experts believe the original date, 2040, would be late if the UK wishes to achieve the target of emitting zero carbon emission by 2050. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be outlining the policy at an event with the United Nations climate summit in November of this year.
The summit, which will be hosted in Glasgow is known as COP26. The annual gathering is led by the United Nations to assess the progress of tackling climate change. Once the ban comes into effect, people will only be able to buy electric or hydrogen cars and vans.