EU steps forward towards Aviation CO2 Emissions Reductions Targets

The European Commission published its first Environmental report on European aviation as the result of a close collaboration between the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), EUROCONTROL and the European Environment Agency (EEA). This report is divided into several sections including an overview of the aviation sector in Europe, technology and design (on aircraft noise and aircraft engine emissions as well as future standards and the Clean Sky Research Programme), sustainable alternative fuels, air traffic management and operations. 

Some of the conclusions reached by the Commission are that the number of environmental challenges for the aviation industry will drastically increase within the next 20 years due to an exponential growth in traffic. A section of the report emphasizes that the best way to achieve a market-based emission reduction system is at an international level since the current EU ETS only covers intra-European flights.

On a broader perspective, a major step forward was achieved with the agreement on the first-ever standards for aircraft CO2 emissions. The deal will affect all new aircraft models launched after 2020 and all existing aircraft built from 2023, with a cut-off date of 2028 for planes that do not comply with the new standard. Minimum standards will require brand new designs with over 60 metric tons to meet a stringency requirement of 8.5 on a 1-10 scale from 2020. The standards metric will be based on fuel consumption per square meter of cabin space multiplied by kilometers flown.

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