UK’s sixth Carbon Budget incorporates aviation emissions

By Erin Voegele | April 30, 2021

The U.K. government on April 20 announced its sixth Carbon Budget sets a new goal to reduce emissions by 78 percent by 2035 when compared to 1990 levels, and for the first time will incorporate the U.K.’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions.

In line with the recommendation from the U.K.’s Climate Change Committee, the sixth Carbon Budget limits the volume of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted over a five-year period from 2033 to 2037, achieving three-quarters of the country’s goal to reach net-zero by 2050.

The government said the move to incorporate the U.K.’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions is an important part of its decarbonization efforts and will allow for these emissions to be accounted for consistently.

Legislation to set the sixth Carbon Budget at the level recommended by the CCC was introduced on April 21.  The new target is expected to be finalized into law by the U.K. parliament this summer. A statement issued by the government explains that the sixth Carbon Budget is focused on the U.K.'s ambition to cut emissions, not specific policies that will deliver emission reductions. The government said it will announce policies to meet carbon budgets, and the Net Zero Strategy, before the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), which is scheduled to begin on Nov. 1.  

Velocys issued a statement on April 21 stressing that sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will play an essential rule in meeting the U.K.’s 78 percent GHG reduction target. Altalto, a SAF facility under development by Velocys and British Airways in the U.K., is one such example of the innovative projects that will be required to meet the new target, Velocys said, noting SAF technologies will be key to driving down international aviation emissions in the years ahead.