Full Title: Clean Takeoff: Policy Solutions to Promote Sustainable Aviation in California
Author(s): Ethan N. Elkind, Katie Segal, Ted Lamm
Publisher(s): UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment
Publication Date: October 12, 2022
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Airplane travel is essential for mobility, economic development, and quality of life. Yet the sector emits approximately 915 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO₂) each year, accounting for 2.1 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions. Non-CO₂ emissions raise the total impact further, accounting for approximately two-thirds of aviation’s overall climate impact. Lowering the emissions intensity of aviation will be a critical, if challenging, piece of the transition to a sustainable advanced economy.
California is uniquely suited to be a global leader in sustainable aviation. The state has ambitious goals to decarbonize its economy by 2045, including programs (like the Low Carbon Fuel Standard) that leaders can tailor to include sustainable aviation fuel. The state also hosts 12 international airports and numerous in-state flights, presenting opportunities for regulatory and incentive programs.
Yet California lacks a comprehensive plan to decarbonize aviation, missing an opportunity to promote sustainable aviation globally at a critical moment. This gap is despite Governor Gavin Newsom’s July 2022 call for a 20 percent clean fuels target for the aviation sector, along with modifications to the state’s transit fuel program (the Low Carbon Fuel Standard) that could facilitate the transition to clean fuel production. To address this challenge, the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) at UC Berkeley School of Law convened experts from the aviation sector, sustainable aviation fuel industry, academia, advocacy groups, airports, and state government to identify barriers and recommend solutions.