Key issues for the EU 2040 and 2050 target

Policy Brief: Aviation in the EU climate policy

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This briefing provides an overview of the status quo and recent changes of EU legislation for the aviation sector. It is analysed whether the legislative situation after the Fit-for-55 package makes the aviation sector fit for a potential 2040 target and the 2050 target of the EU.

International transport needs to be included in the EU 2040 climate target to keep the momentum up - albeit the target might seem less ambitious in percentage terms. Although global policies are more suitable for a global sector, the EU cannot wait for the ICAO which has implemented CORSIA with little ambition and has no climate policies in place after its end in 2035. The ETS thus gets more ambitious over time due to the recent revision. The decision in 2027 about the inclusion of non-CO2 emissions is important and will need to be ambitiously implemented. The adoption of ReFuelEU Aviation is a crucial step forward to incentivise the uptake of SAF. Additional and complementary regulatory action should still be taken to minimize non-CO2 effects from aviation, such as regulating the fuel quality of aviation fuels (reducing aromatic and sulphur) and promoting contrail avoiding flight paths.