CO2 emissions high on agenda for International Civil Aviation Organization assembly

Once every three years the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) holds an assembly of leading aviation authorities and global regulators. This year’s assembly, running between September 24 and October 4, will focus heavily on airlines’ CO2 emissions. Commercial flying is responsible for 2.5% of all carbon emissions, and with passenger numbers estimated to double to 8.2 billion by 2037, experts believe that emissions will rise if no positive action is taken.

At the 2016 ICAO meeting, it fostered the first global industrial climate initiative with a medium-term scheme to aid airlines avoid adding to their net emissions from 2020. The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) requires most airlines to either limit emissions or offset them by buying credits from environmental projects. The industry has indicated that around US$40 billion in climate financing will be generated between 2020 and 2035. The aviation industry is targeting a halving of net emissions by 2050 when compared to 2005 levels. However, there is no similar long-term climate target for aviation set by countries in any international agreement, including the 2016 Paris accord. The industry believes the ICAO can help achieve such goals.

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) confirmed last week that emissions from commercial flights are rising up to 70% faster than had been predicted by the United Nations. However, Airlines are adamant they are unable to tackle the problem alone and are pushing for government help for technology, such as alternative fuels.

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