Call for cap on aviation emissions

A A A

Worldwide greenhouse gas emissions from flying must be limited as part of a global deal to tackle climate change, the committee set up to advise the Government on the issue said today.

Ahead of the UN meeting in Copenhagen in December designed to thrash out a new international agreement on cutting greenhouse gases, the Climate Change Committee said in a letter to ministers that aviation emissions must be capped under a wider deal to reduce greenhouse gases.

Rich countries should take the lead, making sure their aviation emissions are no higher - and possibly lower - than they were in 2005 by 2050, the committee urged.

The cap on aviation emissions could come through a global deal governing the whole industry or as part of national and regional targets for reducing greenhouse gases, the letter to Transport Secretary Lord Adonis and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said.

Any deal to reduce emissions from flying should be "ambitious", and aim for no less than the EU's current plans which require a 5% reduction in emissions from 2013 to 2020.

But the committee's chief executive David Kennedy said such measures would not force people to fly less than they currently do.

"It is vital that an agreement capping global aviation emissions is part of a Copenhagen deal," he said.

"We are calling for a cap that would not require people to fly less than today, but would constrain aviation emissions growth going forward.

"Such a cap together with deep emissions cuts in other sectors would limit the risk of dangerous climate change and the very damaging consequences for people here and in other countries that this would have."

In the UK, bringing emissions from flying back to 2005 levels by 2050 could - alongside cuts of 90 per cent in greenhouse gases across the rest of the economy - deliver the 80 per cent cut in overall emissions to which the Government has signed up.

Without steps to stop growth in emissions from flying, planes could account for as much as a fifth of all carbon dioxide produced worldwide by 2050, the committee warned.

All aviation emissions should be capped, but there could be a period where flights in and out of rich countries would be targeted, while those between developing countries were exempt, the letter suggested.

The committee said it supported plans to include flying in the EU-wide emissions trading scheme, which would give the aviation industry a certain number of "carbon credits" to cover some of their output and let them purchase allowances from greener companies to make up the shortfall.

But all allowances must be auctioned to the industry rather than given away for free, to prevent them receiving the kind of windfall profits energy companies have benefited from under the free allocation system.

And in the long term real cuts must be made, rather than rich countries relying on "offsetting" their emissions by purchasing credits from poorer countries under international trading schemes.

Funding for research and development is needed under a global deal agreed on climate change, to deliver the innovative engine, aircraft and fuel technology that will be needed to cut emissions from flying.

The deal could also agree to use funding from the auctioning of carbon allowances to airline companies to help people, particularly those in poor countries, cope with the already-inevitable impacts of warming global temperatures.

A Government spokesman said: "The UK now has the toughest climate change regime for aviation of any country in the world and we will bring international pressure for aviation emissions to be part of global deal on climate change at the Copenhagen conference later this year.

"We will take full account of the Committee's advice as we continue to press for international aviation to tackle climate change at Copenhagen."

But environmental campaigners renewed their calls for an end to airport expansion in the wake of the advice from the committee.

Friends of the Earth's aviation campaigner Richard Dyer said: "International aviation emissions must be curbed as part of global plans to avoid catastrophic climate change."

Greenpeace climate change campaigner Vicky Wyatt said any government would find it "almost impossible" to build a third runway at Heathrow if it followed the committee's advice.

The chairman of aviation group FlyingMatters, Brian Wilson, said: "I'm delighted that the committee are not seeking to ensure people fly less than today - particularly as most people have only recently been able to afford foreign travel.

"Only an international agreement coupled with the technological advance to which the aviation industry is committed will effectively deal with aviation's emissions.

"Neither unilateral action by the UK nor trying to prevent people travelling will secure the public's support - support which is essential if we are to reach, and deliver on, a deal at Copenhagen."

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Life and Style
life
Sport
Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the winner for Aston Villa
football
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
News
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn