Jet Zero: Measures – influencing consumers

The consultation says:

We want to preserve the ability for people to fly whilst supporting consumers to make sustainable travel choices.

3.39 Flying is a social and economic good which we wholeheartedly support to build a Global Britain – our strategy focuses on decarbonising aviation and delivering sustainable flying for everyone – the government is committed to tackling CO2 emissions from flights whilst preserving the ability for people to fly

3.40 We do not yet know long-term impact of COVID on demand

3.41 Even if demand returns to pre-COVID trajectory, as assumed in analysis, we believe sector can achieve Jet Zero without the government intervening to limit growth – analysis shows there are scenarios that can achieve similar reductions to those in CCC’s balanced pathway of limiting growth to 25% on 2018 levels by 2050 vs baseline 65% growth with the economic and social benefits

3.42 Net zero 2050 must be achieved and any growth in aviation needs to be compatible, so we prioritise in-sector reductions by technical and operational improvements, then tackle residual emissions via offsetting and GHG removal, relying rapid scale-up and deployment of new early-development technologies

3.43 Need to keep strategy under review – assess progress every 5 years

3.44 The approach could moderate demand growth indirectly due to additional costs

3.45 Have recently consulted on APD to align the tax more closely to environmental objectives

3.46 We can provide better information on climate impacts of different routes or airlines since ICTT suggests emissions can vary by 63% on same transatlantic route, so consumers can make informed choices

3.47 CAA will consult on environmental information provision later this year – will explore whether mandating information provision at time of booking will assist, without distorting competition

CAA environmental information provision case study

The CAA, in partnership with BritainThinks, recently launched a research project to explore the feasibility and utility of sharing carbon information with consumers, to enable better decision-making.

The most significant findings were:

  • Most participants thought that emissions information should be universally provided across all sectors
  • Participants thought that information provision should both inform the public about the relative impacts of flying and encourage airlines to reduce emissions
  • Participants thought that information design should be standardised, easily accessible, and have third-party vetting to encourage trust and reliability.

The research indicated there is a broad spectrum of how responsive consumers would be to this information and concluded that better information provision could provide an opportunity for consumers to pick more sustainable flight options.

Information provision could help:

  • Passengers make informed decisions at the time of booking a flight
  • Increase public awareness of carbon emissions and climate change
  • Support aviation growth in a sustainable manner.

Our new policy proposals:

  • We will work with the CAA to explore whether mandating the provision of environmental information to customers at the time of booking flights could influence consumer decision-making when presented with standard, reliable and accurate flight comparisons
  • We will look at other ways to support consumers to make sustainable choices when booking flights and reward those parts of the aviation sector that move more quickly to decarbonise

LADACAN comments

It’s fascinating to see how the consultation wriggles and squirms to ensure it does not offend the powerful aviation lobby by suggesting that (dare we say it) aviation might need to shrink over coming decades.

On the one hand they point out that properly-informed consumer may actually decide to fly less, and choose (eg) electric rail services instead – though there is no commitment to invest further in these alternatives.

On the other hand they say better information could help aviation grow in a sustainable manner – remembering that the DfT and its politicians consistently misuse “sustainable” to mean “ever-continuing”.

Consultation questions

13 Do you agree or disagree with the overall focus on influencing consumers? 14 What more can government do to support consumers to make informed, sustainable aviation travel choices?

Next page: Non-CO2 impacts