IATA advocates for long-term governmental goal to decarbonize aviation industry

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is advocating that governments adopt a Long Term Aspirational Goal to decarbonize aviation during this year’s 41st Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The IATA called for the action during the recent 78th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit (WATS) in which airlines mapped the industry’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 in accordance with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal.

“The decarbonization of the global economy will require investment across countries and across decades, particularly in the transition away from fossil fuels. Stability of policy matters,” IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh said. “At the IATA AGM in October 2021, IATA member airlines took the monumental decision to commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. As we move from commitment to action, it is critical that the industry is supported by governments with policies that are focused on the same decarbonization goal.”

The IATA cited organization survey findings determining improving the environmental impact of airlines is seen as a post-pandemic priority for passengers, with 73 percent of survey respondents wanting the aviation industry to focus on reducing its climate impact as it emerges from the COVID crisis.

“Achieving net zero emissions will be a huge challenge,” Walsh said. “The projected scale of the industry in 2050 will require the mitigation of 1.8 gigatons of carbon. Achieving that will require investments across the value chain running into the trillions of dollars. Investment at that magnitude must be supported by globally consistent government policies that help deliver the decarbonization ambition, take into account differing levels of development and do not distort competition.”

Walsh expressed optimism governments would support the industry’s ambition with an agreement on a Long Term Aspirational Goal at the ICAO Assembly.