Aviation and shipping greenhouse gas emission targets deferred

24 December 2012

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

The Government has decided to put off making a decision on whether to include aviation and shipping emissions in its carbon budgets.

Pollution created by aircrafts and ships is a big problem and one that needs to be handled on an international level.

Last month, the European Commission said it would suspend worldwide aspects of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, so that the International Civil Aviation Organization could develop a global agreement on how to curb aviation and maritime emissions.

As a result of this, the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has revealed that it will defer the final decision on what to do about this type of carbon output until 2016.

This is when the fifth carbon budget will be set and it is hoped that international guidelines will be in place by then.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey said this was the "sensible" thing to do given the uncertainty at EU and global level at the moment.

"This Government is fully committed to meeting the 2050 target and this is consistent with the UK's contribution to the international goal of limiting global temperature rises due to climate change to two degrees Celsius," he remarked.

The organization insists that this will not have any impact on its ability to meet the first four carbon budgets, which cover the period between 2011 and 2027.

Overall, the Government is hoping to slash the UK's carbon footprint by 80 per cent by 2050 (this target includes aviation and shipping).

DECC sought advice from the Committee on Climate Change before deciding to play a waiting game on aviation and shipping emissions.

Chief Executive Officer of the committee David Kennedy felt there was a risk the government might use the global situation to "water down" the UK's climate change targets, but this has not happened.

"This announcement confirms the status quo that international aviation and shipping emissions are included in the 2050 target, and that carbon budgets are set on this basis," he commented.

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