Climate Change Impact
Gatwick’s CO2 emissions in 2038 are forecast to be 2.465 million tonnes per annum higher than in 2018 (7.575m tonnes in 2038 vs 5.11m tonnes in 2018).
This represents an increase in CO2 emissions of nearly 50%.
An increase in emissions of this (or any) magnitude would be inconsistent with the Government’s objective “to ensure that the aviation sector makes a significant and cost-effective contribution towards reducing global emissions”.
Gatwick needs to explain how expanding one of the hardest to decarbonise sectors of the economy is consistent with the government’s net zero legal commitment for 2050 and the international commitment to staying within the 1.5C global warming limit.
Gatwick’s emissions would grow from less than 1% of total UK emissions in 2018 to over 5.5% of the Climate Change Committee’s recommended total UK emissions in 2038.
The increase in carbon emissions would be so significant that it would have a material impact on the UK’s ability to meet its carbon reduction targets. It would therefore be inconsistent with the Airports National Policy Statement.
The consultation acknowledges that there are presently no proven measures by which Gatwick’s emissions could be mitigated and that the trajectory of the aviation industry to net zero emissions is unclear. It asserts, however, that a combination of aircraft/airspace technology and efficiency, “sustainable” aviation fuels and electric or hydrogen (or hybrid) aircraft and offsets will provide a route to Net Zero for the industry.
Seeking to justify Gatwick’s growth on the basis of unsupported assertions on the impact of future technologies is reckless and irresponsible.
The consultation claims to adopt a worse case assessment of climate impacts but fails to quantify the non-greenhouse gas and radiative forcing effects (e.g. from contrails) of Gatwick’s growth, although the government’s own greenhouse gas emissions reporting (used by GAL to assess everything else) includes these. The current scientific consensus is that these are far greater than the CO2 impacts.
The Gatwick Consultation Documents
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