Ryanair becomes first airline ranked among Europe’s top 10 carbon emitters
Ryanair is now one of Europe’s top 10 carbon emitters, according to official EU figures, entering a league that has until now been exclusively occupied by coal plants.
The data shows that the Irish airline’s carbon emissions grew by 4.9% in Europe last year, while other emissions-trading sectors on the continent cut their CO2 by 3.9% overall.
This is despite Ryanair claiming to be “the greenest airline in Europe”.
Transport & Environment (T&E) said the findings reflect Europe’s failure to rein in the “runaway emissions growth of aviation”, which pays no taxes on fuel or VAT on tickets.
“When it comes to climate, Ryanair is the new coal,” the green group’s aviation manager, Andrew Murphy, said.
"This trend will only continue until Europe realises that this under-taxed and under-regulated sector needs to be brought into line, starting with a tax on kerosene and the introduction of mandates that force airlines to switch to zero-emission jet fuel.”
T&E said carbon pollution from flying in Europe has risen by 26.3% over the last five years – far outpacing emissions from any other mode of transport.
Along with a tax on fuel and VAT on tickets, it argued that the aviation sector should radically shift to synthetic kerosene, which is produced from renewable electricity and carbon captured from the air.
Instead, it said governments continue to pursue the UN’s controversial CORSIA offsetting scheme, which “will allow aviation emissions to continue growing”.
T&E warned of “serious doubts” over the environmental effectiveness of carbon offsets, and said it allows airlines to invest cheaply in projects rather than reduce their own carbon footprint.
“Aviation is Europe's biggest climate failure,” Murphy continued. “The worst thing we can do in response is to put all our hopes in an offsetting scheme that gives airlines a license to grow indefinitely.
“But that is exactly what airlines have cooked up at the industry-dominated UN aviation agency. The time has come for a big change in Europe’s aviation policy.”
Image credit: iStock
Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM