More and more people now realise that massive increases in flying and a third runway at Heathrow are inconsistent with the UK’s and worldwide climate targets.
The government’s own Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has been saying for a while that if aviation were to grow at the rate the government forecasts – and indeed is promoting – then it will be impossible to meet the Net Zero target by 2050. [More] Let alone by 2030, the date which most scientists and analysts think is necessary.
The response of government has been twofold. Firstly, to simply say that emissions from aircraft flying to and from the UK ‘don’t count’ because they are “international”. Secondly, to mislead the public.
On 20/1/20, a group of scientists called out government minister Matt Hancock who said that “flying has already been decarbonised”, an outright lie. [Letter from scientists]
Heathrow has joined the government’s campaign of mis-information. Hundreds of thousands of glossy leaflets have been delivered to households “How Heathrow can expand and tackle climate”. It claims that sustainable fuels, offsets and electric planes will solve the problem. They won’t.
Now a group of scientists from 6 universities, led by Professor Julian Allwood at Cambridge University, has produced a report which again rebuts these false claims.
“The UK aviation industry this week promised to bring its net carbon emissions down to zero by 2050 while growing by 70 per cent, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly predicted that “viable electric planes” would be available in just a few years.
But past experience with innovation in aviation suggests that such ambitious targets are unrealistic and distracting. The only way the UK can get to net zero emission aviation by 2050 is by having a substantial period of no aviation at all. Let’s stop placing impossible hopes on breakthrough technologies, and try to hit emissions targets with today’s technologies.” [Report]