Deal reached for civil aviation to try for net-zero emissions by 2050

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UN aviation agency members on Friday set the year 2050 as their goal for achieving net-zero carbon emissions for air travel — an industry often criticized for its outsized role in climate change.

The assembly, which brought together representatives from 193 nations at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) headquarters in Montreal, reached a “historic agreement on a collective long-term aspirational goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050!” the United Nations agency said on Twitter.

“It’s an excellent result,” a diplomatic source told AFP, revealing that only four countries — including China, the main thrust of global growth in air travel — “had expressed reservations.”

The air transportation industry has faced growing pressure to deal with its outsized role in the climate crisis.

The International Air Transport Association said airlines were “strongly encouraged” by the adoption of the climate goal, coming one year after the IATA endorsed the same position at its own general meeting.

According to airlines, it will require massive investments — $1.55 trillion between 2021 and 2050 — to decarbonize aviation.

“This is a watershed moment in the effort to decarbonize the aviation sector with both governments and industry now heading in the same direction, with a common policy framework,” he said in a statement.

The French Minister in charge of Transport, Clement Beaune, welcomed “a major step forward,” saying on Twitter that “there will be no future for the plane without decarbonization” and that he was “proud of having fought this fight with my European counterparts.”

In addition, 50 percent of airline emissions come from the one percent of travelers who fly the most, it found.

She also expressed disappointment over lacklustre tweaks considered by delegates to the sector’s carbon offsetting and reduction scheme, known as CORSIA.

Moscow was accused of breaking international rules by registering hundreds of leased planes in Russia rather than returning them, as required by sanctions imposed after its invasion of Ukraine in February.

The sector hopes in 2022 to draw 83 percent of its customer levels from three years ago and to become profitable again worldwide next year.

Originally published as Deal reached for civil aviation to try for net-zero emissions by 2050


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