Taking place: Collaborative aviation climate action

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The aviation sector joined other business and government groups at the United Nations Climate Summit today to announce a commitment on climate action between the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations specialized agency, and the aviation industry represented by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). This partnership expands on work already being undertaken across the air transport sector to reduce emissions from this important global industry.

The commitment says: “Air transport connects the world. It is a vital engine of global economic growth supporting over 58 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in gross domestic product. In order that all parts of the world are able to benefit from the rapid connectivity advantages of air transport, the sector has committed itself to a pathway of sustainable growth encompassing all areas of the commercial industry and governments working in partnership.”

Making the announcement, the Council President of ICAO, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, said, “Governments, working through ICAO, are working with determination and in league with industry to mitigate aviation-related emissions and help humanity meet the wider and very challenging global targets now before us. Working cooperatively, our sector is taking proactive and concrete actions which will continue improving air transport fuel efficiency and stabilize the sector’s net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from 2020, consistent with our historically strong record in this regard while permitting air transport to continue to bring citizens, societies and businesses together, promoting peace and prosperity wherever aircraft fly.”

Michael Gill, Executive Director of ATAG said, “Today’s announcement builds on the collaborative action taking place across the commercial aviation sector. It is impressive to see all parts of the industry working with each other, and with partners in research, government and other sectors to deliver the climate actions we have committed to as an industry. Aviation is a force for good in the world, supporting economies, fostering tourism and allowing global cultural exchange. We believe that we can continue to deliver these benefits to the world whilst also addressing our climate impacts.”

The agreement was co-signed by Airports Council International, Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, International Air Transport Association, International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations and International Business Aviation Council – representing the various components of the international air transport industry.

Currently, aviation operations produce around 2% of human CO2 emissions, a figure set to increase as more people travel by air, particularly in emerging economies. Recognizing the need for all industries to undertake long-term climate action, the aviation sector has an ambitious and robust path to lower emissions. Governments, industry and civil society are currently working at ICAO to develop a global market-based measure which will contribute to stabilizing the sector’s net CO2 emissions from 2020. Aviation industry organizations have further committed to reducing net air transport CO2 emissions by 2050 to half of what they were in 2005.

Putting these goals into action, the statement outlines the areas on which the industry and ICAO partner to achieve the ultimate vision of a sustainable international aviation sector: supporting the development of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation; continuing the deployment of new technology aircraft and operational improvements; accelerating the transformation of global air traffic management performance; working with partners to develop a global CO2 standard for new aircraft; working with partners to design and implement a global market-based measure for international aviation; and working together to further efforts for capacity building in Member States across the world.