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On August 5, the European Commission declared its intention to introduce new legislation to quell the use of fossil fuels in the aviation sector, initiating a public consultation on the matter. The creation of these measures comes as part of the European Green Deal, which has committed the European Union (EU) to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. While the global outbreak of COVID-19 has greatly reduced the use of air travel in 2020, flight emissions in the EU have been rising annually from 2013-2019 (Reuters).

“The objective of our ReFuelEU Aviation initiative is to use the [COVID-19] recovery as an opportunity for aviation to become greener,” declared EU Transport Commissioner, Adina Vălean (EUReporter).

Currently, sustainable fuels like liquid advanced biofuel and fuels produced by renewable electricity hold only a .05% share of the EU’s overall jet fuel usage. The high price of these alternatives in comparison to traditional kerosene has thus far been prohibitive to any large-scale transition. However, the Commission is currently considering a range of policy options to overcome this hurdle: the introduction of quotas for shares of sustainable fuels, a carbon trading scheme, a “green” airline accreditation scheme, and a kerosene tax (Reuters).

Public consultation on the ReFuelEU Aviation initiative will remain open until October 28, 2020 (European Commission).