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UK aviation commits to net zero carbon emissions by 2050

Sustainable Aviation
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UK aviation commits to net zero carbon emissions by 2050

Members of the UK Sustainable Aviation coalition including Glasgow Airport have united behind a commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

At an event with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP in Central London, aviation industry executives have pledged commitment to cutting carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

This is based on a thorough review of the opportunities to cut aviation emissions and forms a central pillar of a new “Decarbonisation Road-Map: A Path to Net Zero” also published today by Sustainable Aviation, the coalition of major UK airlines, airports, manufacturers, air navigation service providers and key business partners.

This sets out exactly where reductions can come from, including through smarter flight operations, new aircraft and engine technology, modernising UK airspace, the use of sustainable aviation fuels, and high-quality market-based policy measures.

With these actions, the UK will be able to grow passenger numbers by 70% - in line with current projections - whilst reducing net emissions from 30 million tonnes of CO2 per year today down to zero.

A “Sustainable Aviation Fuels Road-Map” has also been released today alongside the Decarbonisation Road Map, which identifies the specific role that sustainable aviation fuels could play in meeting this commitment. It forecasts that the UK could become a world leader in developing sustainable aviation fuels, which could meet 32% of the nation’s demand for aviation fuel by 2050.

Neil Robinson, Chair of Sustainable Aviation, said: “Climate change is a clear and pressing issue for people, businesses and governments across the world. We know aviation emissions will increase if decisive action is not taken, and that’s why UK aviation today commits to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, through an international approach, working with governments around the world and through the UN.

“The UK is well positioned to become one of the leaders in the green technologies of the future, including sustainable aviation fuels and electric flight, creating highly-skilled and well-paid jobs in the process, and we look forward to working in partnership with Ministers to help realise these opportunities.”

Rt. Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “The fight against climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the modern world, but the aviation sector’s commitment today is a huge step forward in creating a greener future.

"Aviation has a crucial role to play in reducing carbon emissions, and with the help of new technologies, renewable fuels and our continued international co-operation through the UN agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, we’ll be able to strike that balance, creating a greener and cleaner future.”

Glasgow Airport’s Managing Director Mark Johnston said: “Glasgow Airport is committed to working with both the wider industry and our Government partners to ensure the UK cuts its aviation net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

“The connectivity provided by the airport plays a crucial role in supporting our regional economy by enabling growth and supporting employment. Nevertheless, we absolutely recognise our climate responsibilities both at a local level and as part of an international aviation network.

“There is more to be done and by working in partnership with Government we believe we can make real progress in decarbonising air travel and ensuring that the UK achieves net zero by 2050.”

 More information about Sustainable Aviation can be found on their website