Aviation and Climate Change: Assessment of Policy Options
Mitigating the climate impacts of air transport represents a formidable challenge, especially given the projected rapid growth of demand for air travel, the strong links between air transport service provision and economic growth, the high abatement costs of the sector, and the limited potential for radical technological solutions to be found in the short to medium term (DfT, 2004). Success in meeting this challenge depends upon the formulation and development of effective policy; however, progress in developing appropriate policies to reduce the climate impacts of aviation has been limited (Pastowski, 2003, p180). In part, this slow progress is due to the complexity of bringing international aviation into the existing climate change mitigation regime without compromising the economic and social benefits that the industry delivers. In particular, improved access to international air transport markets is an important component of national and regional development strategies, and any attempts to constrain aviation growth for environmental reasons could have the unintended effect of blighting development – especially in countries that are highly dependent upon tourism and air travel. Hence policy makers face the critical challenge of mitigating the climate impacts of aviation while balancing a range of economic, social and other environmental considerations.