UK Launches Inquiry Into Shipping and Aviation Decarbonisation

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Tuesday July 20, 2021

A parliamentary committee in the UK is set to investigate the shipping and aviation industries' part in the country's target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

The Environmental Audit Committee of the UK Parliament is seeking submissions on the subject by September 3, it said on its website on Tuesday.

The committee is requesting written evidence on the following questions:

  • What contribution can operational efficiencies make to reduce emissions from aircraft / shipping vessels and over what timescale could these have an effect on emissions?
  • How close are zero carbon fuels to commercialisation for aviation / shipping? How effective will the Jet Zero Council be in catalysing zero emissions technologies? What role should transitional fuels such as alternative hydrocarbon fuels play?
  • What new technologies are there to reduce emissions from aircraft / shipping vessels and how close to commercialisation are they?
  • How should the Government's net zero aviation strategy support UK industry in the development and uptake of technologies, fuels and infrastructure to deliver net zero shipping and aviation?
  • What is the most equitable way to reduce aircraft passenger numbers (e.g. reforming air passenger duty and taxes, frequent flyer levies, bans on domestic flights where trains are available, restrictions on airport capacity)? Are there any policy mechanisms that could reduce our reliance on shipping?
  • What further action is needed by the International Civil Aviation Organization and International Maritime Organization to drive emissions reductions? What can the UK Government do to drive international action on emissions?
  • How effective will the global offsetting scheme for international airlines (ICAO's CORSIA) and the UK and EU ETS be at stimulating technology improvement and/ or behaviour change to reduce emissions from aviation / shipping?
  • How should the UK define its ownership of international aviation and shipping emissions (i.e. arrivals, departures or both) in order to include them in legislative targets?

"Aviation and shipping pose major challenges to reducing emissions," the committee said in the statement.

"Together they account for 10% of UK greenhouse gas emissions and on current trends, aviation will be the largest emitting sector by 2050.

"The Government has set ambitious targets to reach net zero emissions by 2050 for the UK's share of international aviation and shipping.

"This inquiry will look at the ability of technologies, fuels and operational efficiencies to reduce both sector's emissions and what Government action is needed at a national and international level to meet its stated targets."

The UK government is reportedly considering following the EU's lead in introducing an emissions trading system for shipping.