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COP26: Tourism and Aviation Commit to Greener Practices

Photo source: WTTC

Global travel and tourism associations pledged in Glasgow during COP26 last week to work towards concrete actions that will address the emerging climate crisis with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) pushing its Net Zero Roadmap in this direction.

UN climate talks came to a “compromise agreement” after tedious negotiations resulted in the Glasgow Climate Pact, which secured a 2023 timeline for countries to resubmit – in view of changing climate conditions – their national emissions-reduction targets. 

Travel & Tourism: Catalyst for Change

Photo source: WTTC

Photo source: WTTC

WTTC President & CEO Julia Simpson said the travel and tourism sector was taking the opportunity to be a “catalyst for change” after announcing the Net Zero Roadmap aimed at helping sector industries reach individual targets to reduce their carbon footprint.

“It is absolutely critical that the private and public sector work collectively to achieve the Paris Agreement and prevent the global rise in temperatures,” said Simpson.

“Our sector can be part of the change that is urgently required to mitigate impacts and adapt to the threats posed by climate change,” she added.

Aviation welcomes COP26 commitments

Airlines, airports, aircraft and engine manufacturers also welcomed the commitments towards strengthening climate action made at COP26 and presented ways they would be meeting climate goals, which include commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Europe’s air transport sector strongly supports and encourages the wider adoption of ambitious decarbonization objectives and related long-term actions by all countries and regions, including those to be agreed at a global level at the next ICAO assembly in 2022,” said Johan Lundgren, CEO easyJet and Chairman of Airlines for Europe (A4E), on behalf of Destination 2050 partners at COP26.

Industry stakeholders urged however that global efforts to decarbonize aviation be supported with practical, effective government policies.

Speaking on the issue International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General Willie Walsh said decarbonization commitments were already set out in “clear terms” last February.

“Building on the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal, it sees all flights within and departing the EU, UK and EFTA realizing net zero CO2 emissions by 2050,” he said.

We all want the freedom to fly sustainably. Reaching net-zero emissions will be a huge task requiring the collective effort of industry and support from governments,” Walsh added.

Airlines for Europe’s Lundgren said the aviation sector is “by nature a global one” and encouraged others to follow suit.

“Alongside regional measures, a strong global framework should be established and put into action to enable aviation’s decarbonization to happen on a global scale and match our ambition in Europe,” said Lundgren.

Airlines for Europe counts 16 leading airline groups as its members, representing over 70 percent of European air traffic.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.

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