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Decarbonising Aviation

June 29, 2020
Harold Goodwin
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Arctic Circle temperatures have hit new highs reaching a scorching 38C (100F) in Verkhoyansk, a Siberian town. The Arctic is believed to be warming twice as fast as the global average. We cannot self isolate from climate change. Some airlines, for example KLM, have responded to challenge but most want to carry on with business as usual. In the UK Alok Sharma the the government minister responsible for business and climate change said earlier this month that "“COP26 can be a moment where the world unites behind a fairer, greener recovery from the effects of Covid-19. A recovery which delivers for both our people and our planet.” Hew was luancing the COP 26 Race to Zero UNFCC campaign.

The UK government has launched a Jet Zero Council:, a new collaborative initiative to decarbonise aviation;  a coalition of Ministers, businesses, trade bodies and environmental groups who will collaboratively work to align the aviation sector with the 2050 net-zero target. The UK Sustainable Aviation Coalition recently published a roadmap to achieve net-zero. Their roadmap focuses on fuel from waste, gives a low priority to electric aircraft and insists  that the UK’s aviation sector can grow by 70% over the next three decades without breaching climate targets – the UK Committee on Climate Change rejected this plan for business as usual.
For too long the aviation industry has been told that there is no alternative. TINA has been dominant. That is changing. There is an alternative. 
WTM hosted a symposium on  decarbonising aviation with presentations from leading research scientists, engineers and policy makers on the zero carbon fuels which are now within our reach. Aviation is not the problem. The problem is the dirty fuel they burn. The transition to clean fuels needs to begin now. Brief reports of the contributions from each of the speakers can be read here and videos of their presentations  are here.

Resources

2020 06 25 Hydrogen-powered aviation: preparing for take-off!  Video
2020 06 25 Hydrogen-powered aviation McKinsey Report
2020 06 24 PV Magazine  Affordable hydrogen-fueled flight possible in 2035
2020 06 17 WTM & Breda University Decarbonising Aviation Report  Video presentations 
2020 05 13  McKinsey How airlines can chart a path to zero-carbon flying

 

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