A new report by the London School of Economics (LSE) has found that UK low-cost carrier (LCC) easyJet is the best airline for trying to reduce their carbon emissions to tackle climate change.
The research looked at airlines’ carbon management practices and their emissions performance and was carried by the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) at LSE’s Grantham Research Institute, and it said the LCC is the only airline with a CO2 emissions intensity of flights below the 2C benchmarks after 2020 and by 2020 its emissions per passenger kilometre will be less than half of others.
EasyJet’s aircraft are expected to be emitting 75g of CO2 per passenger km by 2020, compared with 172g for say Korean Air and 112g for the International Airlines Group (IAG).
The report also found that Turkish Airlines, Air China, ANA Group, Japan Airlines, China Southern, Korean Air and Singapore Airlines have the highest emissions intensities currently. Wizz Air it said also discloses a very low emissions intensity of flight operations, but TPI has been unable to verify this information so far.
United Airlines, Lufthansa and ANA Group (Japan) were found to be the leaders on carbon management.
The report said the airline sector makes a significant and fast-growing contribution to climate change: currently it accounts for two per cent of global CO2 emissions and 12 per cent of transport-related CO2.
Overall, after looking at 20 of the world’s largest listed airlines it said their long-term targets appear to fall short of the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to below 2°C. None of the 20 airlines has a target that clearly specifies how it will reduce its own flight emissions after 2025.
Research is backed by over $13 trillion of investors such as the Environment Agency Pension Fund, BNP Paribas and Legal & General Investment Management.
TPI co-chair, Faith Ward said: “Investors have a clear message to the aviation sector: When it comes to carbon performance they must be in it for the long haul. That means setting stretching emissions reduction targets to 2030 and beyond and ending a reliance on offsetting. It’s clear from TPI’s research that this is not currently the case.
“Offsetting is no substitute for a clear strategy to reduce emissions, and the IEA’s carbon budget for air transport excludes the use of offsets.
“The aviation sector is doing the basics when it comes to carbon performance, but investors are urging them to take more significant steps as they judge which airlines are most likely to survive the turbulence of the transition to a low carbon economy.”