This project examined the role of ‘natural climate solutions’ which remove carbon from the atmosphere, as an approach to decarbonising aviation. This includes planting new woodland and restoring peatland and other wetlands to offset residual emissions remaining following other decarbonisation actions.
Although this method could attract significant funding for the restoration and protection of natural habitats in the UK, it is also risks becoming a ‘licence to pollute’ and locking in high and unsustainable aviation emissions. Developing robust ways of measuring and accounting for the carbon sequestered by such projects will be essential, so that aviation does not continue to pollute in a way that is incompatible with the UK’s net zero commitment.
Onthe 2nd April 2020, we published the policy insight The flight path to net zero: making the most of nature based carbon offsetting by airlines. A series of expert workshops and roundtables fed into this analysis of credible pathways for the aviation sector, compatible with limiting global heating to 1.5°C, and particularly of the role that UK based natural climate solutions could play.
This work is supported by Heathrow Airport. As with all our work, we retain editorial control and independence over the content and conclusions. Green Alliance is opposed to the development of a third runway at Heathrow.