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ICAO Members Set Goal for Decarbonized Air Transport by 2050

Photo source: ICAO

Global aviation associations and tourism bodies welcomed a historic collective long-term aspirational goal (LTAG) of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 adopted by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) member states during the 41st ICAO Assembly last week.

“This is a historic agreement and we are delighted that countries have chosen a common path towards a net zero carbon emissions goal for aviation,” said World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) President & CEO Julia Simpson. “Together with WTTC’s Net Zero Roadmap, the global travel and tourism sector is now leading the way to ensure a more sustainable future.”

Achieving LTAG will be based on a series of CO2 emissions reduction measures, including the speedy adoption of new and innovative aircraft technologies, streamlined flight operations, and the increased production and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

Photo source: Lufthansa Group

Photo source: Lufthansa Group

“States’ adoption of this new long-term goal for decarbonized air transport, following the similar commitments from industry groups, will contribute importantly to a green innovation and implementation momentum which must be accelerated over the coming decades to ultimately achieve emissions-free powered flight,” said ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano.

The ICAO assembly also focused on the importance of viable financing and investment support to the new CO2 emissions goal’s attainment, and fully supported the new ICAO Assistance, Capacity-building and Training for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (ACT-SAF) program to accelerate the availability and use of SAF – requesting in addition that a third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels be convened in 2023.

Echoing the WTTC, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it was “strongly encouraged” by the adoption of the LTAG to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

“The significance of the LTAG agreement cannot be underestimated,” said IATA Director General Willie Walsh.

“The aviation industry’s commitment to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 requires supportive government policies. Now that governments and industry are both focused on net zero by 2050, we expect much stronger policy initiatives in key areas of decarbonization such as incentivizing the production capacity of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF),” he added.

European aviation welcomes ICAO assembly agreement on net-zero future

The five leading European aviation associations – AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD Europe), Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE), Airlines for Europe (A4E), Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), European Regions Airline Association (ERA) – came out in strong support of the outcome of ICAO’s 41st assembly.

“The UN body overseeing the global civil air transport sector succeeded in setting net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 as the worldwide climate goal for aviation, de facto aligning its climate ambition with the Paris Agreement as well as the global aviation industry’s own target and commitment,” the associations said in a joint announcement.

The five associations are close partners through the Destination 2050 decarbonisation roadmap, a sustainability initiative by Europe’s aviation sector.

The Destination 2050 partners stressed the importance of global political support for the net-zero future for aviation, and called on ICAO and its Member States to work on emissions reduction objectives through a global approach with coordinated policies for the entire sector.

Established in 1944, United Nations agency ICAO helps 193 countries work together to create a dependable network of global air mobility.

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