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19 October 2021

Chief of the Air Staff to speak at King's on the RAF's target of Net Zero by 2040

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, will deliver a lecture hosted by the Freeman Air & Space Institute

CAS lecture 2

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, will be speaking at King’s College London on 23 November. The talk, 10 days after the end of UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, will address the challenge for the Royal Air Force (RAF) of meeting its NetZero target by 2040.

The ambitious target was set by Sir Mike earlier this year, 10 years ahead of the UK government’s Net Zero 2050 goal. Speaking this year’s Global Air Chiefs' Conference he said:

‘our politicians will increasingly demand it of us, because our public demands it of us. And the young people in the Royal Air Force today demand it of the leadership team and me, that we should be taking a lead in this’.

In his lecture at King’s he will discuss the RAF’s target in the context of COP26, which aims to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The in-person event takes place on 23 November 2021 6.30pm at Bush House and will be the first in an annual series hosted by the Freeman Air and Space Institute in the School of Security Studies at King’s. The Institute, which launched in 2020, is an inter-disciplinary organisation dedicated to generating original knowledge and understanding of air and space issues.

Defence accounts for 50% of the UK government’s CO2 emissions, with air and space activity representing a significant proportion of this amount. The RAF’s challenging NetZero 2040 target is therefore critical to reducing the carbon footprint of the armed forces.

It has also been said that climate change, and the need to decarbonise, will affect the RAF’s future operational effectiveness, its infrastructure, and its future workforce.

At the RAF’s air and space power conference in July, Air Chief Marshal Wigston said of the NetZero target:

“The way we power our aircraft, the way we power our bases, the way we talk to our supply chain, to our industrial suppliers about their carbon and sustainable practices, are all going to be things that we are going to have to tackle. It will take decades and we need to start now.”


The event is open to the public with limited spaces and will also be streamed online. 

Sign up for the in person or online.

The Freeman Air and Space Institute is dedicated to generating original knowledge and understanding of air and space issues. It seeks to inform scholarly, policy and doctrinal debates in a rapidly evolving strategic environment characterised by transformative technological change which is increasing the complexity of the air and space domains.

The Institute places a priority on identifying, developing and cultivating air and space thinkers in academic and practical contexts, as well as informing, equipping and stimulating relevant air and space education provision at King’s and beyond.