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Big News: UK Closes Loophole on Plane & Ship Emissions

Originally published on Transport & Environment.
By Eoin Bannon

The UK’s decision to include its share of international aviation and shipping emissions in its Carbon Budgets is a very positive step towards reducing carbon pollution from planes and maritime transport, green NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. It finally closes a loophole which has let these major emitters escape climate action for years.

Matt Finch, UK policy manager at T&E, said: “We congratulate the Prime Minister for taking this key step on the path to decarbonise planes and ships. Properly accounting for the emissions is essential, but we now need meaningful action to control greenhouse gas releases and prevent future emissions rising above pre-pandemic levels. In the process the UK can become a world leader of zero-emission fuels for planes and ships.”

The UK has established an important international precedent, being the first major economy to account for its airline and shipping emissions under its carbon budget. T&E said the EU should follow suit immediately. The European Parliament is pushing EU member states to do this in negotiations over the EU Climate Law this week.

Andrew Murphy, aviation director at T&E, said: “The UK is showing how to take responsibility for its climate impact. The EU should incorporate aviation and shipping in its Climate Law or relinquish its aspiration for climate leadership. If the UK, with an economy so reliant on aviation and shipping, can do this, then Europe has no excuses.”

The UK is responsible for the third-highest amount of CO2 emissions from aviation globally, behind only the United States and China. Globally, aviation is responsible for 5% of global warming. Shipping accounts for about 13% of greenhouse gas emissions from European transport.

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