Jet Zero – Ambitious Decarbonise Aviation Plan

This month’s UK government ‘Jet Zero’ document outlines a vision of how the aviation sector can reach net zero carbon offset.

While it’s been endorsed by independent assessment organisations such as the Climate Change Committee and is commendable as a consultation document, it will ultimately be judged by how effective real carbon mitigation action proves to be, during our fragile time frame.

Importantly, in the process of delivering an ambitious decarbonisation strategy, the focus is on continuing to highlight the benefits of air travel, thereby maximising on the huge advantages the industry offers to so many around the world.

In line with the ‘Net Zero by 2050’ pledge, the bold five points Action Plan aims to reduce and eradicate carbon emissions across all aspects of the aviation industry by endeavouring to:

  • improve the efficiency of our aviation system
  • accelerate the development and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels
  • support the development of zero emission flight
  • ensure we use markets to drive down emissions in the most cost-effective way
  • influence the behaviour of consumers

Supported by the ‘Evidence and Analysis’ consultation document, the challenges are obvious, not least being how to measure net zero, and fully recognising how the technologies needed to achieve this remain emergent.

Furthermore, as the coronavirus pandemic saw international aviation figures drop through the floor (ref. ‘in April 2020, UK passenger numbers dropped by 99% compared to April 2019, and remained low throughout the year’), planning aviation’s short, medium and long-term carbon neutralisation future remains tricky.

I recommend both documents to those who want to engage with and understand the aviation industry’s carbon challenges. Even when understanding how the industry itself must pay for pricey carbon elimination technologies, the need to do more than just plant trees and sign up to carbon-offset schemes is apparent.

We have to believe that if we all get involved, we can assist in making the government’s Jet Zero Council pledge to deliver net zero aviation achievable within a generation.

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