Possible and Green Gumption’s report – titled Missed Targets – examined 50 separate climate targets set by the aviation industry since 2000, including airlines, regulators and industry associations.
The charities found 49 out of 50 targets examined were missed, forgotten about or abandoned.
A target set by Easyjet to reduce CO2 emissions per passenger by 2.5 per cent by 2017 was the only goal met – though the report labelled this target “unambitious”.
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Every target set on the use of alternative fuel had been missed, in most cases “by orders of magnitude”, the report said. It added that target-setters also failed to report on their success or failure in the year the target was planned for completion.
Carbon offsetting is now “almost the only international policy” being taken by aviation actors in order to reduce emissions, the report said. It added that “problems are rife with offsetting schemes, including faulty calculations of the amount of carbon they absorb”.
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The report’s authors concluded that target-setting by the industry appears to function “principally as a tactic for giving an impression of progress and action in order to prevent any policy barriers to ongoing growth in the industry”.
They added that their findings cast doubt on the viability of the Jet Zero strategy, with analysis suggesting that “the industry is incapable of meeting its own targets”.
Warrington said of the report’s findings: “It’s hardly a surprise that the aviation industry is failing to regulate itself and manage the harm it causes our climate.
“What is a surprise is both the scale of its failure to achieve even the small improvements it has set itself, and the ludicrousness of the government’s continuing insistence that the industry will be able to cut its emissions to net zero while allowing passenger numbers to continue to grow for the next three decades.”