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Committee on Climate Change: Count International Flights From UK in Emissions Targets

The Committee on Climate Change - an independent thinktank offering advice to government on building a low-carbon economy and preparing for climate change - has produced a series of recommendations on achieving net-zero carbon emissions & international aviation & shipping.

Addressing international aviation and shipping (IAS) emissions is strategically important. The primary policy approach to reducing IAS emissions should be international. Formal inclusion of IAS emissions in the UK net-zero target would complement agreed international policies and should not be interpreted as a unilateral UK approach to reducing emissions in these sectors.

In short, this is a call for the inclusion of the emissions of international aviation & shipping in net-zero targets. As it currently stands, the emissions from international transport are not included in the target, despite being dwarfing domestic aviation & shipping.

The planning assumption for international aviation and shipping should be to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. This should be reflected in the Government’s forthcoming Aviation Strategy and as their Clean Maritime Plan is taken forward. It means reducing actual emissions in these sectors and is likely to require some use of greenhouse gas removals (GGRs) to offset remaining emissions.

There is already a lot of work to be done to get emissions of the existing (pre-COVID) levels down to anywhere near net-zero. There is only so much we can do with GGR projects. More than doubling the amount of flying from Leeds Bradford Airport in the run-up to 2050 is completely incompatible with this.

You can read the full list of recommendations & the report here.

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