A new report by Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe stated the seven biggest airlines in Europe are falling short of expectations to decrease their carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
To reach the 1.5°C climate target by 2040, European airlines need to have at least 2% fewer flights per year. Yet, none of the companies have set yearly CO2 reduction goals nor have they pledged to decarbonize by 2040 or decrease flights.
Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, IAG, Ryanair, easyJet, SAS, and TAP Air Portugal have made unsubstantial claims to decrease emissions, the report said, as they rely on ineffective solutions such as sustainable aviation fuels, CO2 neutrality, and CO2 offsetting.
“European airlines are putting up a smokescreen of false solutions that sound great,” said Herwig Schuster, spokesperson for Greenpeace’s European Mobility For All campaign. “But in effect keep transport hooked on oil, distracting from their staggering emissions, lack of credible climate targets and insufficient measures to combat the impacts of flying.”
The EU should ban short-haul flights and replace business flights with train alternatives when reasonable, he also said.
The seven airlines were responsible for 170 million tonnes of GHG emissions in 2019, or as much as the total yearly emissions of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
While CO2 emissions should have been decreasing, they have in fact risen by 3.4% per year between 2010 and 2019. Unless political action prevents it, the aviation industry could turn into one of the biggest polluters by 2050 and consume as much as a quarter of the budget for the 1.5°C climate goal.
Greenpeace and 30 other organizations are campaigning against fossil advertising and sponsorship in the European Union. If they get one million signatures in a year, the European Commission will be obliged to respond to the proposal.