Carbon budget aviation

Royal Schiphol Group has commissioned CE Delft to determine remaining carbon budgets for Dutch aviation which are in line with the Paris Agreement and to investigate the consequences for the possible number of flights departing from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The study is an import input to set ‘New rules with clear limits for noise and CO2 emissions’, which is the first point of Schiphol’s 8-point plan. The remaining carbon budget is determined based on the latest IPCC report and different assumptions and choices. As background information a concise overview of the relevant national and international policies is given.

The main findings of the study are:

  • The key driver of global warming is CO2, which adds-up cumulatively in the atmosphere. A net zero target in a specific year is not sufficient, the path towards net zero determines the global temperature increase.
  • Technological breakthroughs will come too late and SAF production has limits. Demand measures are necessary to align the aviation sector with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • Immediate reduction of carbon emissions is necessary. Otherwise aviation requires disproportional amounts of clean energy and land or depends on uncertain technological breakthroughs.
  • For a limitation of global warming to 1.5 °C, emissions should be reduced by 30 to 37% in 2030. None of the announced national (policy) options is in line with this target. Hence, additional international and national policies are required.
  • In 2030, the maximum number of flights depends strongly on the share of intercontinental flights and the development in aircraft size. Targeting the 20% of intercontinental flights is essential, since they are currently responsible for 80% of the CO2 emissions.

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