The UK Government’s decision on whether to include international aviation and shipping emissions in the carbon budget has been delayed to 2016.
The news follows the European Commission’s proposal last month to suspend international aspects of the aviation EU Emissions Trading Scheme. This was to allow the International Civil Aviation Organisation work towards developing a global agreement on aviation emissions.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “Given the uncertainty of what is happening at the EU and global level in managing aviation emissions, we think it sensible to defer our decision on the inclusion of aviation and shipping emissions in the UK’s carbon budgets. 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 2°C.”
Environmental groups slammed the announcement and said the Government “needs to prove” it is serious about its climate commitments.
Keith Allott, Head of Climate Change at WWF-UK said: “This decision is yet another example of dither and delay, kicking another key decision on climate change into the long grass until after the election. The clarification that the 2050 emissions target includes aviation and shipping is a positive step but it’s hardly a ringing endorsement of the Government’s green credentials.
“Government needs to prove that it is still serious about the Climate Change Act commitments – world-leading legislation that was passed with overwhelming cross-party support just four years ago.”
Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said the UK needs “bold and decisive leadership”: “Yet again the coalition has ducked a key decision on tackling climate change – if only Ministers put as much effort into taking action to cut emissions as they did in finding reasons to avoid it. Aviation and shipping are significant sources of pollution; they should be included in UK carbon budgets.”