Climate change measures progressed at ICAO Assembly

MONTREAL, 4 October 2019 – Governments meeting at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 40th Assembly in Montreal have supported the prioritisation of work on developing a long-term goal for aviation CO2 emissions, with that work to be completed for presentation at the next ICAO Assembly in 2022. They also re-affirmed support for the development of the CORSIA climate change measure for international aviation.

Executive Director of the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group, Michael Gill said: “The aviation industry has had a long-term goal for reducing emissions from air transport for a decade. We are encouraged that there was clear support from governments meeting at ICAO to develop a UN-backed goal and the industry stands ready to help technical and strategic discussions over the coming three years as the details of a goal are developed.

“As air transport connectivity grows, particularly to meet the needs of developing and emerging economies, we also need to work to reduce our climate change impact. The aviation industry has been very successful in significantly improving fuel efficiency of our operations in the past – with an overall efficiency improvement of 17.3% since 2009 – and we expect that to continue. But we also recognise the need to do more and for us to start bringing down net CO2 emissions from the sector in the coming decades. The work on a long-term goal, backed up by individual government policy measures to help with the energy transition away from fossil fuels, will provide a coordinated approach to achieve this.”

Despite robust discussions, the Assembly also confirmed significant support by governments for the development of CORSIA – the world’s first sector-wide carbon offsetting programme. CORSIA will offset the growth in CO2 from international flights from 2021.

“We recognise that working towards decarbonisation in aviation is a challenge, compared with other sectors that have more immediate options such as electrification. The energy transition to sustainable fuels and the introduction of new technology options will take time, so CORSIA has been developed as an interim measure to help balance the growth in connectivity with the need to reduce emissions. We are encouraged by the support of governments to continue their work on CORSIA and urge more States to volunteer for this important measure.”

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