1214 GMT March 28, 2020
The plans were published on Tuesday by the Sustainable Aviation coalition of companies in the British sector, including engine-maker Rolls Royce, airline easyJet, BP’s aviation fuel arm AirBP and planemaker Airbus, Reuters reported.
Meeting the emissions target is likely to require several major changes in the industry, such as more efficient aircraft and a significant increase in the use of sustainable aviation biofuels, which are currently not widespread.
It may appear a tough goal, given air passenger numbers are expected to grow 70 percent by 2050, pushing up the number of flights. But the industry, which accounts for around seven percent of Britain’s emissions, says it will also offset its own emissions by funding reductions elsewhere.
Carbon offset projects can include planting trees or helping to fund renewable power projects such as wind or solar in developing countries.
The coalition said the emissions target could be met despite the expected business growth, adding: “This includes the opening of a third runway at Heathrow by around 2030.”
However critics say offsetting emissions reduces incentives for the drastic emissions cuts needed to slow global warming and does not always bring the intended benefits; for instance, new trees may not grow as quickly as promised.
The Heathrow expansions plans, which include building the first full-length new runway in the London area for 70 years, are also opposed by climate protesters and some local residents.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has opposed Heathrow’s expansion in the past, but lawmakers approved the plans in 2018.