In Focus: Sustainability in Aviation

Ahead of COP26 ADS is running an ‘In Focus: Countdown to COP26’ blog series, helping you make sense of the work the aerospace, defence and space sectors are undertaking to tackle climate change and deliver net zero by 2050.

In June 2019, the UK became the first major world economy to legislate for net zero carbon emissions by 2050. To reach the goal of net zero carbon emissions from UK aviation, the UK aerospace and aviation industries set out a roadmap to reduce carbon emissions over the next few decades, through the development of hydrogen/zero emission aircraft, the rollout of sustainable aviation fuels, operational improvements, and international coordination.

On Tuesday, October 26, ADS members demonstrated their commitment to the net zero by 2050 at the ADS pre-COP26 event hosted at the Institution of Mechanical engineers. The event included a range of panels featuring industry experts and a highlight was the gathering of seven CTOs from leading aerospace manufacturers who reaffirmed their commitment to achieving more sustainable aviation and to reaching industry wide ATAG targets. Later in the event, there was a technology showcase where fourteen innovative members demonstrated their latest technology innovations and solutions to help tackle climate change and achieve net zero by 2050. For a full round-up of ADS pre-COP26 event, read more here.

UK aerospace is in a strong position for the development of sustainability technology – ADS members such as Airbus and ZeroAvia are developing next-generation aircraft powered in part by hydrogen, while Rolls-Royce recently announced that from 2023 their Trent range of engines will be able to run on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel. Our pre-COP26 event will build on this, setting the tone on sustainability in aerospace, defence, and space ahead of COP26.

The event will also be an opportunity to demonstrate the value of the announcements last week when the Government published its Net Zero Strategy. The strategy outlined proposed measures and policies to decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy and meet the UK’s net zero target by 2050, including £180 million in funding to support the development of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) plants with the ambition to enable delivery of 10% SAF by 2030.

By working with Government to deliver on the ambitious targets of net zero by 2050, UK industry will be well placed to lead the global decarbonisation of our sectors. The COP26 conference in Glasgow will be an opportunity for nations to come together and agree on action needed in the face of the climate crisis. As will be demonstrated at ADS pre-COP event on the 26 October, UK and global aerospace stands ready to do its part in that journey.