Biofuels no solution for aviation sustainability

The ICAO plan for aviation biofuels targets was rejected by 25 member countries, reported Transport + Environment on October 14.

Earlier T+E stated that ICAO’s ‘green fuel’ plan is  a Trojan horse for palm oil. ‘Aviation is responsible for 5% of man-made climate change; the sector currently emits around 2.3% of annual global CO2 emissions. Without action this is expected to grow considerably.

Some sections of industry and governments see biofuels as a key avenue for reducing the sector’s emissions. ICAO is developing a methodology to assess fuels life cycle emissions. Lessons learned in road transport suggest that while biofuels may play a role in decarbonising the sector, focusing on quantity without properly addressing sustainability concerns – notably direct and indirect land-use change (ILUC) – will backfire.

Policymakers must ensure quality first: so that aviation biofuels are better than kerosene from a climate perspective even when including ILUC, and are compliant with sound environmental and social criteria, including a certification scheme. No credible scenarios exist for large-scale production of such biofuels at acceptable prices.’