Growth scenarios for EU & UK aviation: contradictions with climate policy

TitleGrowth scenarios for EU & UK aviation: contradictions with climate policy
Publication TypeTyndall Working Paper
SeriesTyndall Centre Working Papers
Tyndall Consortium Institution


Secondary TitleTyndall Centre Working Paper 84
Keywordsaviation, Carbon dioxide concentration, Contraction and Convergence, scenarios, Stabilisation
AuthorsAnderson, K., A. Bows, and P. Upham
Year of Publication2006

This paper reviews the scientific, policy and economic context to managing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation. It provides a short assessment of the contraction and convergence model developed by the Global Common’s Institute (CCOptions), finding it both appropriate for the present study and of considerable value for climate policy studies more generally. The report goes on to develop aircraft emissions scenarios for each EU nation over the period 2002-2050, taking into account fuel efficiency improvements and sometimes applying uplift factors relating to radiative forcing. These scenarios are subsequently compared with national carbon contraction and convergence profiles for 450ppmv and 550ppmv carbon dioxide concentration stabilisation levels for EU members states; for the UK, the 550ppmv contraction and convergence profile is consistent with the UK government’s 2050 target of reducing carbon emissions by 60%. The results show that a significant portion of annual emissions budget will be attributable to the aviation industry for the aggregated EU25 nations, as is also the case when separated into the original EU15 nations, the 10 new accession states and looking at the UK alone. If the aviation industry is allowed to grow at rates even lower than those being experienced today, the EU could see aviation accounting for between 39% and 79% of its total carbon budget by 2050, depending on the stabilisation level chosen. For the UK, the respective figures are between 50% and 100%. As a further analysis, the scenarios for the UK were investigated in the context of what the impact on the other sectors of the economy might be. The scenarios show that all of the other sectors of the UK economy would need toreduce their carbon emissions significantly to allow the aviation industry to grow at even moderate rates. This would require a much more substantial investment in renewable energy, carbon sequestration, nuclear power, hydrogen and energy efficiency than would be the case with a low growth aviation sector. Within the 2050 low energy demand scenario within this paper, the energy supply system would be required to make more moderate levels of decarbonisation, with the principal reduction in carbon coming about through other sectors’ substantial improvements in terms of energy efficiency and behavioural change, so as to make room for the aviation industry.

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