Sustainable Aviation (SA) has published its first report mapping the industry’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to 2050. The report concludes that CO2 from all UK civil aviation can return to 2000 levels by 2050, after having reached a peak around 2020, against a background of threefold growth in passenger numbers.
The assessment takes into account the UK air transport market maturity and efficiencies that are expected from new airframe and engine technology, cutting edge air traffic management and operations, as well as the development of sustainable fuels. In making this assessment no allowance is made for the additional contribution to CO2 reductions that will be achieved through airlines’ participation in international emissions cap and trade schemes, the details of which have yet to be fully defined.
The report highlights that: Improvements in current airframe and engine design plus new technologies such as
blended wing bodies and open rotor engines are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 62 per cent compared with a ‘constant technology’ baseline; A further 10 per cent reduction is envisaged from improved air traffic management
and operations that will be delivered by 2020; Lower carbon alternative fuels are expected to provide a further 10 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions from 2030, following a period of increasing deployment from 2020; Given these initiatives, overall absolute levels of CO2 from UK aviation are expected to be brought back down to 2000 levels by 2050
The projection to 2050 for the UK is set out as follows: