CO2 budgets must include shipping and aviation

11th April 2012

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Transport ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Carbon Trading ,
  • Reporting



The UK risks not meeting its climate change goals if the government does not expand the carbon budgets to include emissions from shipping and aviation, warn advisors

According to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), emissions from the shipping and aviation sectors need to be included in the carbon budgets now or it will be too difficult to cut carbon output to the levels needed to prevent global temperature rises of more than 2°C.

Created by the Climate Change Act 2008, the carbon budgets set UK-wide reduction targets in five-year periods up to 2050, ultimately cutting emissions by 80% on 1990 levels. And, while proceeding governments have operated as if the 2050 target includes emissions from aviation and shipping, the Act excluded the sectors from the budgets because, at the time, it was not possible to accurately assess the UK’s share of the international emissions.

The expansion of the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) to include aviation and the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) adoption of the energy efficiency design index, now provide the calculation of emissions needed and there no longer remains any reason why they should not be included in the budgets, says the CCC in its latest report.

“A failure to include international aviation and shipping emissions … would represent a departure from the approach taken by the government in its carbon plan, and … could result either in increased costs and risks of meeting carbon budgets, or in accepting higher risks of dangerous climate change,” it states.

The CCC argues that the formal inclusion of the aviation and shipping sectors will not increase the cost of meeting the targets, and will provide greater flexibility in how the country can make reductions. Advances in aviation or shipping could mean more expensive carbon abatement action is avoided in other sectors, according to the report.

To accommodate the new sectors the CCC recommends revising the second, third and fourth carbon budgets, and extending the overall emissions cap, rather than keeping the lower targets and forcing more reduction activities.

Using EU ETS and IMO calculations for the UK’s aviation and shipping emissions, the CCC suggests the carbon budgets increase by 40 million tonnes of CO2 a year – 31 million tonnes for the aviation sector and 9 million tonnes for shipping. This will, however, slow the pace of emissions reductions from a 50% cut on 1990 levels by the end of the fourth carbon budget (2023-2027) to a 46% fall.

Under the requirements of the Climate Change Act, the government has until the end of the year to decide whether it should include the sectors in carbon budgets.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

EU and UK citizens fear net-zero delivery deficit

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Taxing the extraction of fossil fuels in the world’s most advanced economies could raise $720bn (£575bn) by 2030 to support vulnerable countries facing climate damages, analysis has found.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close