Net Zero APPG: Reaction to the Government’s plan to decarbonise transport

The Net Zero APPG held a session on the Hard to Abate sectors ahead of the Government’s long awaited, Transport Decarbonisation Plan, published today (14 July 2021).

Given the importance of aviation and shipping to international trade, travel and investment, the decarbonisation of shipping and aviation will be crucial if the Government is to reach its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – or sooner.

The Net Zero APPG welcomes the Government’s proposals to decarbonise aviation and shipping and the Secretary of State for Transport ,Grant Shapps’, commitment to the ‘rapid development of technologies in a way that maintains the benefits of air travel and maximises the opportunities that decarbonisation can bring for the UK.’

However, it is clear from the NZ APPG’s hard to abate debate that we need to go further and faster if we are going to meet Net Zero by 2050 or sooner.  Speaking in the opening session, Lord Deben, Chair of the Climate Change Committee said, “we don’t really know quite how serious aviation emissions are” and that the environmental impact of air travel is likely to be more serious than expected but that the Government had at least recognised the problem which was a start.

The Hard to Abate debate brought together experts, academics and MPs from all parties to look at how we can overcome challenges and barriers and transition to more sustainable aviation and shipping and what our ports and airports can do to unlock the green recovery and unlock the transition to greener more sustainable transport, travel and trade.

Speaking in the Mini Session on Aviation and Shipping, Dr Andy Jefferson, from Sustainable Aviation said there is a lot the aviation industry can  and is doing to reduce emissions, including planning more direct routes to avoid additional fuel use, avoiding congestion on flight paths to reduce instances where planes have to wait to land, and using big data to predict weather conditions.

Matthew Grigor from Associated British Ports said that the Government’s decarbonisation plans would be welcome but that the Government need “to take advantage of the UK’s strengths in the maritime sector to support green growth, jobs and skills in technology and shipbuilding” to decarbonise shipping.

The findings and recommendations from all our evidence sessions will be published in our Net Zero Roadmap Report ahead of the COP26 Conference in November.