(07 Oct 2021) The Air Transport Action Group has adopted a long-term climate goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, confirming the commitment of the world’s airlines, airports, air traffic management and the makers of aircraft and engines to reduce CO2 emissions in support of the Paris Agreement 1.5ºC goal.
This updates an earlier industry-wide goal set in 2009 and comes after IATA’s resolution earlier this week to adopt a net-zero goal.
Haldane Dodd, Acting Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group, said, “Aviation has increased its ambition in line with the need for all sectors of the economy to pursue rigorous climate action. Despite having endured the greatest crisis in aviation history, this new agreement shows that our sector has placed climate action as one of its highest priorities. It will be a significant challenge to meet net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but the evidence shows that with the right support from governments and efforts across the value chain, especially the energy industry, it is achievable.”
The industry says that a mix of new technology – including potentially shifting to electricity and hydrogen for some short-haul services; improvements in operations and infrastructure; and a transition to sustainable aviation fuel by mid-century would provide a majority of the carbon reductions. Remaining emissions would be captured using carbon removals measures.
“It is also vital for governments to show their support,” Dodd added. “National policy measures focused on innovation and energy transition are vital. We also urge the member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to support adoption of a long-term aspirational climate goal at the 41st ICAO Assembly in 2022, in line with industry commitments.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), which also recently passed its own commitment to be net-zero by 2050, said, “AAPA reaffirms its strong support for ATAG and ICAO as well as its Member States in forging a global consensus on a collaborative pathway to address aviation emissions in the longer term. A comprehensive approach involving multiple stakeholders to deliver emissions reductions is critical to achieving a fully sustainable aviation industry by 2050.”