Aviation could become the UK's biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, warned the Committee on Climate Change, the British government’s statutory adviser, despite technological advances to reduce emissions. The committee wrote to Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, on Tuesday.
The committee set out options for ministers to stay within the legally binding net-zero target, including new levies on frequent flyers and changes to air taxation relative to rail and road in order to curtail demand for cheap flights in the next few years.
The committee also suggested that aviation and shipping sectors should formally be included in Britain’s target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
Britain earlier this year became the first G7 country to set a net zero emission target although the shipping and aviation sectors were not explicitly included in the goal.
“Now is the time to bring the UK’s international aviation and shipping emissions formally within the UK’s net-zero target. These are real emissions, requiring a credible plan to manage them to net-zero by 2050,” Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), said in the email.