UK PM Boris Johnson launches Jet Zero Council to cut airline emissions

Boris Johnson marked his one year in office as the UK Prime Minister on Wednesday with a new Jet Zero Council to tackle aviation emissions as part of a wider 350-million pound plan to step up efforts to tackle climate change.

New York Times
Boris Johnson marked his one year in office as the UK Prime Minister on Wednesday with a new Jet Zero Council to tackle aviation emissions as part of a wider 350-million pound plan to step up efforts to tackle climate change.

Downing Street said the multimillion pound investment package will drive forward progress on the UK's target to reach net zero by 2050, by helping businesses to decarbonise across the heavy industry, construction, space and transport sectors and to secure the UK's place at the forefront of green innovation.

The Jet Zero Council, which had its first meeting on Wednesday, will bring together the government, environment sector and aviation and aerospace industry experts to work towards an ambition of the first-ever zero emission long-haul passenger plane.


"We've made great strides towards our net zero target over the last year, but it's more important than ever that we keep up the pace of change to fuel a green, sustainable recovery as we rebuild from the pandemic," said Johnson.

"The UK now has a huge opportunity to cement its place at the vanguard of green innovation, setting an example worldwide while growing the economy and creating new jobs. That's why we're backing cutting edge research to cut costs and carbon across our great British industries, and even paving the way for the first ever zero emission long haul passenger flight - so that our green ambitions remain sky high as we build back better for both our people and our planet," he said.

The projects set to receive funding under the plan will work on developing new technologies that could help companies switch to more energy-efficient means of production, use data more effectively to tackle the impacts of climate change, and help support the creation of new green jobs by driving innovation and growth in UK industries.
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"Climate change is among the greatest challenges of our age. To tackle it we need to unleash innovation in businesses across the country. This funding will reduce emissions, create green collar jobs and fuel a strong, clean economic recovery - all essential to achieving net zero emissions by 2050," said UK Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma.

Sharma, who chairs the Jet Zero Council along with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, focussed the meeting on discussions around decarbonising the aviation sector while supporting its growth and strengthening the UK's position as a world leader in the sector.

"The Jet Zero Council is a huge step forward in making change - as we push forward with innovative technologies such as sustainable fuels and eventually fully electric planes, we will achieve guilt-free flying and boost sustainability for years to come," said Shapps.

The members will look at how to work across sectors to achieve carbon emission goals, including through brand new aircraft and engine technologies. These could include using new synthetic and sustainable aviation fuels as a clean substitute for fossil jet fuel, and eventually the development of electric planes.
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Downing Street claimed that over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country. In 2019, UK emissions were 42 per cent lower than in 1990, while the economy over the same period grew by 72 per cent.

The UK government said the funding package announced this week will go towards a range of efforts, including support for the transition from natural gas to clean hydrogen power, and scaling up carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology; a drive towards the use of innovative materials in heavy industry; support for advanced new building techniques and state of the art construction techniques; and research and development for the automotive sector.
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