Europe is not spending enough on aerospace research and development to reach its newly agreed target for slashing aviation emissions.
This is the warning from the UK government's aerospace and defence knowledge transfer network, which has begun a consultation process that could kick off a new multi-project, multi-year UK national technology programme in 2011.
On 21 October the European Union's environment council agreed a new aviation emissions reduction target of 10% below 2005 levels by 2020, but according to UK knowledge transfer network director Ruth Mallors: "Current R&D spending can't deliver the capabilities for [the 2020 target]."
Current national and European research spending includes the €1.6 billion ($2.38 billion) seven-year Clean Sky programme.
Mallors described her network's programme as a bid to bridge that technology-emissions gap. And, she adds, operations will also have to be addressed, as it has a significant part to play.
Clean Sky is designed to meet the environmental objectives set out by the European government and industry Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE). Formed in 2001 ACARE's objectives are to be reviewed in 2010, but the industry says the existing goals are already very tough.
At the European air and space conference in Manchester in October senior European Commission research officials said greater research funding by member state governments, not the EC, would be needed to meet new environmental objectives.