The aim is to prevent “greenwashing” so that consumers can make sustainable decisions.
If I take a train in Europe, the ticket displays precisely how much carbon I’ll be responsible for putting into the atmosphere, for example, 3.8 kilograms on my regular route.
Now, the EU’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) contemplates creating similar eco-ranking labels for the airline industry, according to a report from Germany’s Welt am Sonntag. The concept is to provide trustworthy, comparable and correct information, to allow passengers to take sustainable flying decisions.
According to reports, the EU is attempting to counterbalance possible greenwashing from airlines that may encourage excessive claims of flights being eco-friendly. Aviation totals 3.5 per cent of the pollution accountable for global warming, according to a recent international study. Two-thirds of that is because of contrails, NOx, water vapour, sulfate aerosol gases, soot, and other aerosols, while the rest originates from CO2 emissions.
EASA is preparing to employ high-speed trains as a benchmark for consumer labels. The safety agency will distinguish between different classes of aircraft, including regional, larger planes with central aisles, super heavies like the Airbus A380 and even future air taxis. The types will take into account many different components including bio-fuel use, recycling rates, waste generated and in layman’s term, carbon offset trading.
Though air traffic has dropped by 60 to 80 per cent because of the COVID-19 crisis, the industry expects it to rebound to pre-pandemic figures by 2025, and grow further beyond that. The project is part of a scheme to make the EU carbon-neutral by 2050 as part of the European Green Deal. EASA has only just put the development of an eco-label out for tender, with plans to have the technical details locked down by 2022. But, there’s no word yet on when passengers will see those labels in reality.