IATA requests global CO2 targets

The director-general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments to set global targets for reductions in CO2 emissions.

Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director-general and chief executive, asked delegates attending the Greener Skies Conference in Hong Kong to get behind his four-pillar strategy.

The plan includes asking governments to develop challenging industry targets that will stabilise and eventually reduce aviation’s carbon emissions.

These emissions, he suggested, should be managed through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) under a new Kyoto II framework by treating aviation as a global industrial sector.

Bisignani said governments should also invest in efficient infrastructure, particularly air-traffic management, and establish fiscal and legal frameworks to promote the rapid development of biofuels for aviation.

He said: ‘The aviation industry takes its environmental responsibility seriously. Our vision is for carbon-neutral growth on the way to a carbon-free future and we have challenging targets to guide us.’

The IATA claims there is wide commitment to the environment in the aviation industry. The organisation has revealed an industry working paper representing airlines, airports, air navigation service providers and manufacturers on the subject.

The paper will be presented by the industry to the ICAO at its High Level Meeting on International Aviation and Climate Change, which recently began in Montreal.

The paper contains targets such as 1.5 per cent average fuel efficiency improvements per year through 2020. It also includes stabilising emissions with carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and reducing emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, compared with 2005.

Bisignani said aviation is unique among industries, adding: ‘When it comes to environment, no other global industry is as united, ambitious or determined. Our message to governments at ICAO is simple. We need a global sectoral approach to reducing aviation emissions. And governments should incorporate our industry targets as part of their solution. Working together, with ICAO, aviation will be a role model for industry co-operation with the UN in driving important change.’

He said: ‘The global sectoral approach would mean that governments account for aviation’s emissions at a global level and as an industrial sector, rather than within national targets. This would ensure that airlines pay for their climate cost just once, not several times over, and it would drive emissions reductions with global standards on a level playing field. The ICAO would monitor progress with the help of the IATA and the industry.’

According to Bisignani, aviation has the ability to drive major global changes.

He said: ‘For example, the IATA rolled-out e-ticketing to every corner of the planet in just 48 months. The IATA’s four-pillar strategy to address climate change with modern technology, effective operations, efficient infrastructure and positive economic measures is another example.

‘Implementing the four-pillar strategy, IATA has already saved more than 68 million tonnes of CO2. This year, we expect aviation’s carbon emissions to fall by seven per cent  some five per cent from the recession and two per cent as a direct result of our work.’

Bisignani also noted that governmental commitment is critical for aviation to meet its targets. He added: ‘Governments must share the industry’s vision for an even more efficient air transport sector and back it up with investments in better infrastructure, especially air-traffic management projects such as the US NextGen investment.

‘And they must facilitate the rapid advance of sustainable biofuels from testing to commercial availability with appropriate fiscal and legal frameworks.’