ICAO Assembly urged to adopt net-zero climate goal for aviation


Representatives of the world’s governments meeting in Montreal are being urged to adopt a long-term climate goal of net-zero carbon by 2050 for the aviation sector. Over 150 countries are expected at the 41st International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly where one of the most important topics of discussion will be climate change.

Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group, Haldane Dodd says the climate emergency needs action from all actors: “last October, the aviation industry set net-zero carbon by 2050 as a challenging, but achievable, goal for aviation. This cannot rely on industry action alone – we will need support from the energy sector and governments to make net-zero aviation a reality.

“Governments meeting at the ICAO Assembly over the next two weeks are urged to take a visionary approach to the climate challenge and adopt the recommendations of the ICAO Council for a long-term climate goal for the sector. There are a number of short-term issues being faced by us all, be they the rebound from Covid-19, geopolitical pressures or economic concerns. But the existential challenge of climate change needs global and decades-long thinking if we are to avoid the worst effects.”

The industry says it is important that governments adopt a long-term climate goal at this year’s Assembly. Such a globally-aligned policy environment will bring stability of direction and certainty to catalyse the needed investments in new fuels and decarbonisation technologies.

Following significant analysis on the feasibility of an aviation net-zero goal by the industry’s Waypoint 2050 report and similar investigation on long-term climate mitigation by an ICAO technical committee, the UN-specialised aviation agency began a political process on a potential long-term goal for aviation, aligning the sector with the aims of the Paris Agreement. A high-level meeting of officials in July produced recommendations of a net-zero goal which were then taken up as a draft resolution by the 36-member ICAO Council in late August. The full ICAO Assembly is being asked to adopt this goal at its session which runs from 27 September to 8 October.

“Importantly, it is not only the leadership in aviation calling for global policy support. Young aviation professionals from around the world – pilots and engineers, fleet planners and air traffic controllers – are also calling for an agreement at ICAO. They are the future of the industry and their voices are captured in a video message to the delegates at ICAO: https://youtu.be/OMCnZn4GJAE.