On Tuesday November 24th, following the release of a study on the non-CO2 impacts of aviation on climate change, the European unit of Greenpeace issued a position paper on the impact of aviation on the climate.
“The European Commission’s research shows aviation is flying us into the climate crisis, yet they continue to allow tens of billions in taxpayers’ money to flow into airlines’ pockets without restrictions,” said Lorelei Limousin, Greenpeace EU climate campaigner. “We cannot afford to bankroll increasing emissions and massive layoffs when we are in the middle of health, climate and economic crises. The Commission must end tax exemptions and ban short-haul flights. Recovery funds must be invested in green mobility that provides sound, sustainable jobs and affordable, accessible transport for all.”
The study acknowledged the non-CO2 effects of aviation, such as those caused by NOx and water vapor, but the European Commission failed to propose measures to address the non-CO2 impact of aviation as required by the Emissions Trading System (ETS) revision, and to cut air travel, the latter being the most direct way of reducing airline-related emissions.
In 2017, as part of the ETS revision, the Council and the European Parliament tasked the European Commission with presenting an updated analysis of the non-CO2 effects of aviation, accompanied by a proposal on how best to address those effects, before 1 January 2020. The European Commission commissioned the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to undertake the analysis.
For the EU to deliver its fair share of climate action, air travel must drastically be reduced, according to research commissioned by Greenpeace. The researchers from Climact and the NewClimate Institute show that to achieve this goal, short-haul flights must be banned where there is a cleaner alternative. Unfair advantage provided by tax exemptions on airline tickets and fuel must end and European investments in cross border rail must increase.
European governments have already agreed to almost €30 billion in financial aid for airlines with a further €7.9 billion currently under discussion, according to a European airline bailout tracker. None of the packages offered have been linked to legally-binding environmental conditions sufficient to meet the Paris climate agreement needed to keep global temperature increase by 1.5°C.