New inquiry focuses on aviation and shipping’s voyage to net zero


The Environmental Audit Committee has announced to be examining how the aviation and shipping sectors can best achieve net zero emissions.

During the inquiry, the Committee will be considering areas which could play a significant role in reducing emissions for the aviation and shipping sectors.

These include the commercialisation of new technologies and low, transitioning to zero, carbon fuels, reductions in demand, and options to drive international action to lower global emissions from these sectors.

Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, launching the call for evidence, commented on the announcement: “Aviation and shipping make up 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“As we get back to normal after the pandemic, we must find ways to support the aviation and shipping sectors while drastically reducing their carbon footprint: it won’t be plain sailing but failure to do so will never see net zero Britain take off.

“International shipping transports more than 80% of global trade, and if no action is taken, its emissions could double by 2050.

“There are bold ambitions – unveiled by Government only last week – for new technology to lower our share of international aviation’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

“It is welcome that the Government has launched serious engagement in this year of COP26 to include these emissions in developing plans for Net Zero Britain.

“But the technical challenges are immense and we wish to shine a light through this inquiry on the opportunities and risks in achieving these goals.

“We are inviting written evidence submissions to guide our inquiry and would encourage anyone concerned about these issues to consider making a contribution.”

In its recently published Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Jet Zero consultation, the UK Government has outlined its ambition for UK domestic aviation to be net zero by 2040 by driving innovation and early technology adoption, with a target to reach net zero aviation emissions by 2050 and a commitment to maritime net zero as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has also recently unveiled its ‘Fit for 55’ plan which will tax aviation and maritime fuels for the first time while setting targets on shipping emissions and sustainable aviation fuels.

This is in addition to the expanded Emissions Trading Scheme covering shipping within the EU from 2023.

Evidence can be submitted until Friday 3 September 2021.

More information about this call for evidence and how to take part is available on the UK Parliament website.