Campaigners share their ‘deep concern’ with SBTi’s work on aviation

Campaigners have released an open letter stating they’re “deeply concerned” about the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)’s work on aviation.

In February 2023, the SBTi released a new technical report for an interim pathway for aviation, based on a 1.5 target. Airlines use such pathways created by SBTi to set their emission reduction targets.

But instead of a pathway truly based on science, the campaigners argued it is a “a flawed scenario” that helps the aviation industry to sustain its growth path while “blowing up the carbon budget”.

The letter – signed by Greenpeace, Flight Free UK and Bristol Airport Action Network – argues that the SBTi advices industry it only needs to start with steep emission reduction after 2030.

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However, the campaigners warn that by the end of the decade, carbon budget will have ran out, so it makes reaching the target of 1.5 degrees highly implausible.

The letter also argues that the SBTi’s update is based on relative emissions rather than absolute.

“While it is important that planes become more energy efficient, if the number of flights increases at the same time, emissions can still rise,” the campaigners said.

“We therefore need absolute emission reduction targets.”

Other concerns include not differentiating between emerging economies and early industrialised economies, especially as the latter have already used up the largest part of the carbon budget.

We urge SBTi to revoke the interim technical report for the 1.5°C Sector Pathway for Aviation and to develop pathways for aviation that are truly science based and aligned with what is needed to reach 1.5C,” the campaigners concluded.

The initiative said in a statement: “The SBTi welcomes feedback from climate experts, civil society, businesses and other stakeholders.

“Our standards, guidance and criteria are developed following open and transparent processes including public consultation and input from a diverse range of stakeholders via our Expert Advisory Groups (EAGs),” it added.

“We received the letter from Fossielvrij NL on 21 November and responded the same day to confirm receipt and to request they submit it via our standard complaint process for processing.”

Climate crisisNet zeroNewsTransport

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