UK’s rich flyers: Europe’s biggest polluters?

A new report suggests private jets leaving the UK emit more carbon dioxide than 20 other European countries combined

Festival Net Zero 2021

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Are the UK’s wealthiest the most polluting elite in Europe?

A new report by the clean transport campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E) suggests private jet flights departing from the UK emit more carbon dioxide than 20 other European countries combined.

In addition, the study estimates six-in-ten of the most polluting routes for private aviation in Europe either arrive or depart from London.

The analysis also found the UK and France together represent almost 40% of emissions from private jets in Europe.

European private jet carbon dioxide emissions have climbed by 31% between 2005 and 2019, the report suggests.

The authors of the research estimate nearly 1% of people cause almost half of global aviation emissions.

Matt Finch, UK Policy Manager at T&E, spoke to ELN about the implications that transport could have for the country’s climate commitments: “The rich can supercharge zero-emission aviation.

“Private jets really are the worst mode of transport environmentally, but they are also the best mode to decarbonise quickly. The UK has a real responsibility here.

“Nearly 20% of the European private jet emissions are generated by UK jets, which is why the government should introduce policies that encourage the sector to be the first aviation segment to fully decarbonise itself.

“We are in the UK and the UK has grand ambitions. Right now we are the third highest emitting aviation nation behind the US and China.”

Listen to the interview.

A DfT spokesperson said: “The UK was the first major economy to pass laws to end our contribution to climate change and is committed to achieving net zero across the whole economy by 2050. We will shortly consult on our strategy to deliver this.”

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