The world’s airlines have met just one of more than 50 climate goals that were set in the last 20 years, new research has found.
A report by climate charity Possible and sustainability agency Green Gumption assessed every public climate target the international aviation industry set for itself between 2000 and 2021.
In addition to airlines, the report investigated targets set by aviation bodies such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Of more than 50 commitments made public by airlines and aviation agencies around the world, he found that all but one had been breached, abandoned or forgotten.
The only target that was achieved was a “loose” target set by easyJet: to reduce its carbon emissions per passenger-kilometre by 2.5 per cent by 2017, which was met in 2015.
Most of the targets focused on CO2 efficiency or alternative fuels, and many were used to negotiate expansion, says Possible.
One of the missed climate targets was Sir Richard Branson’s $3bn (£1.8bn) Climate Pledge from 2006, when the founder of Virgin Atlantic promised to spend that much on fighting climate change over the following decade.
Another was the FAA’s goal for the US aviation industry to use 1 billion gallons of alternative jet fuels a year by 2018.
“The unicorns that the aviation industry promised us over and over again never came,” said Possible’s director of innovation Leo Murray.
The climate charity calls for the introduction of a progressive tax on flights to fairly reduce the demand for flights, rather than relying on the industry to reduce its emissions as it continues to expand.
It says a “frequent flyer tax” would manage demand by taxing people who travel the most, citing the fact that 15 per cent of the UK population take 70 per cent of all UK flights.
Alethea Warrington, a campaigner for Possible, said: “It’s no surprise that the aviation industry is failing to regulate itself and manage the damage it causes to our climate.
“What is surprising is both the scale of its failure to achieve even the small improvements it has proposed, and the ridiculousness of the government’s continued insistence that industry will be able to reduce its emissions to net zero while allowing the number to continue. of passengers. grow over the next three decades.
the independent has approached aviation bodies and vetted airlines for comment.