March 26, 2023 4:00 pm

The DfT did, nevertheless, say the government was “exploring regardless of whether and how non-CO2 impacts could be integrated in the scope of the UK ETS (emissions trading scheme)”.

Professor Piers Forster, an atmospheric physicist and member of the independent Climate Adjust Committee, told openDemocracy it was “completely wrong” for the aviation business to claim the science on aviation’s non-CO2 effects was also uncertain to address them.

He mentioned: “It’s a bit of a joke to say the effects are also uncertain to do something about. We see their contrails and we’ve recognized for more than 20 years that they are warming the planet. The business really should not hide behind uncertainty.”

He added that “the non-CO2 effects certainly have to be accounted for in some way and action really should be taken to cut down them”.

Milan Klöwer, a climate physicist at Massachusetts Institute of Technologies, mentioned airlines have been adopting a “typical climate denialist strategy” by overstating the level of uncertainty about non-CO2 effects.

“Even in the ideal case they roughly double the impact of CO2 emissions on the climate,” he mentioned.

He named on airlines to begin accounting for their non CO2 effects and invest far more in options, such as option fuels, which lowered these effects.

Rob Bryher, aviation campaigner at climate charity Feasible, mentioned: “These documents show that airlines can not be trusted to decarbonise on their personal. Demand management options like a frequent flyer levy, introducing fuel duty, carbon pricing, or management of airport capacity are going to be important.”

Matt Finch, UK policy manager of campaign group Transport &amp Atmosphere, mentioned: “Aviation’s non-CO2 impacts are someplace among massive and certainly huge. But the business does not want you to know that. As an alternative of confronting its environmental difficulties head-on, the business copies the tobacco business of the ’50s and the oil business of the ’70s in casting doubt and disbelief about the science.”

BA mentioned it was operating with academics and specialists on non-CO2 impacts of flying when Sustainable Aviation, an business group that involves airlines, mentioned it was committing to addressing them but reiterated far more investigation was necessary. Wizz Air mentioned it was currently addressing the impacts by means of a variety of measures.

Some airlines ignore non-CO2 effects in schemes they help to assistance passengers calculate and offset the emissions of their flights.

BA’s emissions calculator states a 1 way flight from London Heathrow to New York emits 348kg CO2E (carbon dioxide equivalent) and charges £3.97 for offsetting.

Atmosfair, a German non-profit organisation which supports the decarbonisation of flying, calculates the exact same journey on a Boeing 777-200 – an aircraft variety made use of by BA – emits 896kg and charges 21 euros (£18.37) for offsetting. Atmosfair’s emissions total comprises 308kg of CO2 emissions and 587 kg equivalent for “climate effect of contrails, ozone formation etc”.

Although the DfT has so far failed to act on non-CO2 effects, they are pointed out in official tips to providers from the Division for Small business Power and Industrial Approach on how to report their emissions.

It says: “Organisations really should incorporate the indirect effects of non-CO2 emissions when reporting air travel emissions to capture the complete climate effect of their travel.”

A DfT spokesperson mentioned: “Our Jet Zero Approach confirmed our aim of addressing the non-CO2 impacts of aviation, by creating our understanding of their effect and attainable options, and the UK is 1 of the major nations operating to address this situation.”

Sustainable Aviation Fuel

International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns BA, Vueling and Aer Lingus, told DfT’s Jet Zero consultation it could address non-CO2 emissions by supporting “sustainable aviation fuel” (SAF).

SAF is a jet fuel created from sources which the business claims are sustainable, such as cooking oil and animal fat. It performs in a equivalent way to kerosene but can make up to 80% significantly less CO2 based on how it is created. It potentially also reduces contrails.

IAG told the Jet Zero consultation SAF was “the only viable remedy for decarbonising medium and lengthy haul flights”, which account for about 70% of worldwide aviation emissions.

But additional documents obtained by openDemocracy reveal IAG then lobbied the DfT to water down its SAF mandate.

In response to a separate consultation, IAG argued the SAF mandate really should only cover flights inside the UK or to the EU, and not the lengthy haul flights on which British Airways tends to make most of its income.

IAG also lobbied against a proposal to ban airlines from dodging the mandate by filling their tanks with low-cost kerosene at overseas airports – a practice recognized as “tankering”.

A BBC Panorama investigation in 2019 revealed tankering by BA and other airlines was generating little monetary savings but unnecessary carbon emissions.

IAG also argued against a proposal aimed at constructing demand for “power-to-liquid” jet fuel, which is created by combining hydrogen created by renewable power with carbon captured from the atmosphere.

As opposed to other so-named sustainable jet fuels, energy-to-liquid fuel does not involve a feedstock necessary by other industries to decarbonise, such as made use of cooking oil or animal fat.

IAG named it “a really high priced pathway to straight decarbonise aviation”.

Sustainable Aviation, an business group that involves airlines, mentioned: “We are committed to addressing [non-CO2] impacts primarily based on the scientific proof, but additional investigation is important to creating powerful mitigation options, for instance the use of sustainable aviation fuels (which include reduce contrail forming particulates), alongside actions such as optimising flight routes to stay away from contrail formation.”

BA, IAG’s principal airline, mentioned: “We are actively engaging with academics, specialists inside the business and the government’s Jet Zero Council to take proactive actions to appear into non-CO2 effect.”

Wizz Air mentioned it was mitigating non-CO2 effects “through route optimisation and jet fuel improvements” and by utilizing Airbus A321neo aircraft which lowered NOx emissions by 50%.

Ryanair did not respond to a request for comment.