Airlines around the world jointly pledged Monday (October 4) to achieve “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050, as the aviation industry steps up efforts to reduce its contribution to global warming.
“For aviation, net zero is a daring and daring commitment. But it’s also a necessity, ”Willie Walsh, CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), told key airline executives in Boston.
“The important decision we must make today will ensure the freedom to fly for future generations. “
IATA represents 290 member airlines representing 82% of global air traffic before the pandemic, and its commitment follows the lead of the European aviation industry which has adopted the European Union’s emissions targets.
“Many in this room – individually or in groups – have already taken this step,” Walsh told leaders.
“For others it will be an added challenge at a very difficult time” with the industry hit hard by the global effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
But for all the members of the association, “it will be a commitment behind which we must be united and determined to deliver on time,” he added.
“It’s the right thing to do. And together it is possible.
IATA’s commitment is aligned with the EU proposals presented earlier this year, which aim to halve the EU’s carbon emissions by the end of the decade before reaching the value net zero by 2050.
The EU’s proposals include plans to remove the tax-exempt status of kerosene, the phasing out of free CO2 permits for flights covered by the EU carbon market, and a mandate that refueled jets at EU airports increase a defined percentage of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).
IATA’s new commitment comes 12 years after the World Airlines Association unveiled its first plan to cut airlines’ CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050 from 2005 levels.
Proof of the industry’s good faith, Walsh assured, is that airlines “have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in more fuel-efficient planes,” with the fuel efficiency of the fleet improving further. by 20% in a decade.
The dramatic tightening of mid-century goals did not require a vote, in accordance with IATA’s statutes, but was adopted by consensus as no member raised a firm objection that would have blocked the movement.
However, the meeting saw Chinese airlines stress that the 2050 target was incompatible with the goal adopted by the Beijing government, which aims for carbon neutrality by 2060.