15 Dec 2020, 14:23
Edgar Meza

German aviation industry offers comprehensive plan for CO2 neutrality

Clean Energy Wire / Reuters

Germany’s aviation industry has presented a joint master plan to bring air transport more in line with climate protection. Presented by leading industry groups, including the German Aviation Association (BDL) and the Association of German Airlines (BDF), the plan commits companies in the sector to the goal of CO2-neutral air transport and sets out in detail the measures that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Based on pre-coronavirus crisis figures, air traffic is responsible for 2.8 percent of CO2 emissions worldwide, according to the BDL. In terms of global warming as a whole, the share of global air traffic is 3 to 5 percent. The industry sees the greatest leverage for climate protection in aviation in replacing older aircraft with more energy-efficient, lower-emission aircraft. Due to the slump in air traffic as a result of the pandemic, however, these efforts have largely come to a standstill, Reuters reports, citing the plan. The sector is therefore calling for funding for fleet renewal from the assistance programme currently being developed by the government. Replacing older aircraft has led to a 44 percent reduction in CO2 emissions since 1990, the BDL notes. Other measures include:

  • The replacement of fossil kerosene with sustainable fuel, which can become a reality with the building of production facilities and mechanisms “for an effective, competition-neutral market ramp-up”;
  • Support for improved and more efficient railway connections for domestic travel, with the aim of moving one-fifth of domestic passengers from air to rail;
  • The optimisation of flight routing to reduce detours in European airspace and to counter the negative effects of contrails and cirrus clouds on the climate;
  • Greater coordination between the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) in order to rule out competition distortion and ensure CO2 pricing instruments are truly effective;
  • Improvements throughout the entire travel chain, including energy supply, building and systems technology, and vehicle fleet. The retail and catering businesses at airports are taking measures to achieve CO2-neutrality and to protect the environment in general, such as the elimination of single-use plastic.
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