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Letter: International aviation and shipping and net zero

1. Overview

This is a letter from CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, to the Secretary of State for Transport,  Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, about net-zero and the approach to international aviation and shipping (IAS) emissions. This letter responds to the Government’s request on how to bring IAS emissions formally within the UK’s net-zero target, setting out the rationale and the implications for the UK’s climate strategy.

2. Key recommendations

In summary our recommendations are:

  1. Addressing international aviation and shipping (IAS) emissions is strategically important. The primary policy approach to reducing IAS emissions should be international. Formal inclusion of IAS emissions in the UK net-zero target would complement agreed international policies and should not be interpreted as a unilateral UK approach to reducing emissions in these sectors.
  2. The planning assumption for international aviation and shipping should be to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. This should be reflected in the Government’s forthcoming Aviation Strategy and as their Clean Maritime Plan is taken forward. It means reducing actual emissions in these sectors and is likely to require some use of greenhouse gas removals (GGRs) to offset remaining emissions.
  3. The Government can take steps towards enabling international aviation and shipping to reach net-zero emissions in the UK and internationally by establishing a new market for GGRs. Such a strategy could create a significant new global export opportunity for the UK in greenhouse gas removal technology and expertise.