Reaching net zero emissions from the aviation sector is technically and financially possible by mid century  

victoria@aviationnews-online.com
By victoria@aviationnews-online.com May 8, 2019 11:00

Reaching net zero emissions from the aviation sector is technically and financially possible by mid century  

Reaching net-zero carbon emissions from the aviation sector is technically and financially possible by 2060 and earlier in developed economies, according to the aviation Sectoral Focus published today by the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC). This Sectoral Focus presents in more detail the underlying analysis on aviation decarbonization that fed into the ETC’s integrated report Mission Possible: Reaching net-zero carbon emissions from harder-to-abate sectors by mid-century.

The aviation Sectoral Focus outlines the possible routes to fully decarbonize aviation. It says that improvements in energy efficiency of engines and airframes, combined with greater efficiency of aviation operations, could reduce the growth of emissions by 30-45% below business-as-usual, but that further reduction would require alternative aviation engines or fuels.

Improvements in engine and airframe efficiency, along with air traffic and other operational improvements, can significantly reduce the rate of growth in carbon emissions from aviation, and must be pursued aggressively. But it will not be possible to keep emissions flat, let alone to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century, as required to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, without a shift to alternative low-carbon fuels or to electric engines.

Battery electric and hydrogen planes could play a role over short distances, but without a dramatic and currently unforeseeable improvement in battery energy density, these technologies will not be able to power long-haul aviation. The path to net-zero-carbon aviation therefore relies on some combination of biofuels and synthetic fuels (“power-to-liquids”).

The ETC provides the fact base for industry groups and private companies to develop roadmaps, collaborations and projects aiming for net-zero carbon emissions in their sectors. It also encourages businesses across multiple sectors to question their procurement practices and make commitments to buying “green” products and services.

The members of the Energy Transitions Commission are committed to achieving a net-zero carbon economy by mid-century. They are convinced that succeeding in that historic endeavour would not only limit the harmful impact of climate change, but would also drive prosperity and deliver important local environmental benefits.

At the launch of Mission Possible, Lord Adair Turner, co-chair of the ETC said, “This report sets out an optimistic but completely realistic message – we can build a zero-carbon economy with a minor cost to economic growth. We should now commit to achieving this by 2060 at the latest, and put in place the policies and investments required to deliver it.”

victoria@aviationnews-online.com
By victoria@aviationnews-online.com May 8, 2019 11:00