Photo of John Hemming

John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of total UK emissions he estimates will be provided by aviation in (a) 2030 and (b) 2050 (i) with and (ii) without allowance for radiative forcing calculated at 2.7.

Photo of Karen Buck

Karen Buck (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport; Regent's Park and Kensington North, Labour)

Emissions from international flights do not currently count in the national inventories of greenhouse gas emissions, there being no international agreement yet on ways of allocating such emissions. There is, therefore, no agreed definition for UK aviation. In order to provide illustrative figures we have previously provided data based on a number of assumptions—that the UK takes responsibility for emissions from all departing flights, that all other sectors of the economy reduce their CO 2 emissions in line with the Energy White Paper goal. These figures do not take into account the impact of economic instruments like emissions trading.

The Department for Transport provided an illustrative table showing the relative contribution of aviation to UK emissions to the Environmental Audit Committee (published on 7 June 2004 in Aviation: Sustainability and the Government Response", HC 623). On this basis, aviation would be responsible for 15.2 per cent. of UK CO 2 emissions in 2030 and 21.3 per cent. in 2050. Using a radiative forcing factor of 2.7, aviation would be responsible for 27.6 per cent. in 2030 and 34.3 per cent. in 2050 of the UK's contribution to global warming.

The Air Transport White Paper sets out the Government's belief that the best way of ensuring aviation contributes towards the goal of climate stabilisation would be through a well-designed emissions trading regime, for which we are pressing at international and European level. We are working through the International Civil Aviation Organisation towards an international emissions trading scheme for aviation—this is consistent with the request to ICAO from the UN Climate Change Convention for action on aviation emissions. We are also pursuing the inclusion of aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme. The details of how a scheme would work in practice, like the overall cap and the distribution of allowances between member states will be subject to discussion with other member states' governments.

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