Governments place environment top of the agenda at ICAO assembly

Leaders pass resolution to ‘reaffirm and strengthen’ support for carbon reduction scheme
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Governments gathering at the 40th assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have promised to aim towards a long-term goal for reducing carbon emissions from international aviation.  

A decade ago the aviation industry agreed a long-term goal to cut aviation emissions to half the levels of 2005 by 2050.

The latest ICAO assembly marks the first time that member states have agreed to consider a long-term goal for governments to reduce aviation emissions.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the move to reduce the industry’s environmental impact.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO said: “Sustainability is critical to earning aviation’s license to grow and spread its many economic and social benefits. Decarbonising the sector is a major challenge. Our focus is on cutting emissions to half 2005 levels by 2050 and we are making consistent progress.  

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“Flying today is 17.3% more fuel efficient than a decade ago. From 2020—with the help of CORSIA—the sector’s growth will be carbon neutral. The strong support of governments for developing a UN backed long-term goal for reducing emissions would support us in those efforts and take us to the next step.

“National policy measures aligned to a global long-term emissions reduction goal will enable the industry to work even more effectively on crucial opportunities like commercializing sustainable aviation fuels and more efficient air traffic management.”

CORSIA aims to offset growth of international flight emissions from 2021, generating some $40 billion of aviation-funded climate finance by 2035.

De Juniac continued: “We need to implement CORSIA successfully. It’s essential to our promise of carbon-neutral growth. This assembly has sent a clear message that governments are committed to CORSIA and want to broaden participation from the voluntary stage.

“We look forward to seeing these commitments delivered as CORSIA begins—particularly by those states that are undermining CORSIA with additional taxes or charges.”

Also among the assembly’s discussions were improving travel experiences for passengers with disabilities, adapting to UAS innovations, coping with unruly passengers and addressing infrastructure shortcomings.

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A theme running through the assembly discussions was the need to modernise the way in which ICAO works, including with stakeholders.

De Juniac added: “Over many decades we have successfully supported ICAO in setting the standards and recommended practices that have facilitated the safe and efficient development of global connectivity. And we are working together so that aviation can successfully tackle the challenge of climate change.

“Everyone has their unique role to play. But aviation is a team effort. This assembly demonstrated once again how this cooperation is moving aviation towards an even safer, more efficient and sustainable future.” 

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