The end of business-as-usual? – A critical review of the air transport industry's climate strategy for 2050 from the perspectives of Degrowth

Köves, Alexandra ORCID: and Bajmócy, Zoltán (2022) The end of business-as-usual? – A critical review of the air transport industry's climate strategy for 2050 from the perspectives of Degrowth. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 29 . pp. 228-238. DOI

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In discourses around sustainability, increasing eco-efficiency through technological developments are highly popular as they promise the continuation of business-as-usual and appeal to economic actors whose primary motivation is to follow the paths of economic growth. Dominant narratives and visions about the bioeconomy also fit into this line of thinking by giving a central role to technological problem solving and decoupling, the opportunities of sustaining economic growth and advancing the extended use of renewable resources. In 2020, major actors of the air transport industry under the frame of the Air Transport Action Group issued Waypoint 2050 a global, sector wide strategy to tackle climate change and halve CO2 emissions by the middle of this century. As we will establish in this paper, their sustainability strategies strongly rely on bioeconomic solutions such as sustainable air fuels and renewable energy, while their need to grow remains unquestioned. However, achieving sustainability is a wicked problem that needs clumsy solutions. And clumsy solutions only come about when highly different viewpoints are put on the table. Degrowth perspectives can most certainly enrich dialogues on sustainability transitions such as the current challenges the air transport industry faces. This paper aims to provide a critical review of Waypoint 2050, underlining why it is important for economists and policymakers to shift their understanding from pursuing endless growth toward Degrowth perspectives. We use the main arguments of Degrowth to interpret and analyse the air transport industry's climate strategy and reframe the discussions around sustainable aviation. Our goal is to show that Degrowth approaches can contribute to positively influencing the discourses of air transport by assessing the consequences of the sector and its reform strategy through diverse lenses. The discourse reflected in this paper would also be appropriate when applied to other top carbon producing industries and our assessment of air transport is not a directed criticism but rather an example on why business-as-usual scenarios need to be revisited.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:degrowth, air transport industry, eco-modernisation critique, sustainability transition, sustainable aviation, bioeconomy
Transport and communications
ID Code:7148
Deposited By: MTMT SWORD
Deposited On:19 Jan 2022 07:52
Last Modified:19 Jan 2022 07:52

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