ICAO member states have adopted a collective long-term global aspirational goal (LTAG) of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The goal aligns international aviation with the Paris Agreement and follows a commitment by the industry itself last year.

The achievement of the LTAG will rely on the combined effect of multiple CO2 emissions reduction measures, including the accelerated adoption of new aircraft technologies, streamlined flight operations, and the increased production and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

Green innovation

“States’ adoption of this new long term goal for decarbonised air transport, following the similar commitments from industry groups, will contribute importantly to the green innovation and implementation momentum which must be accelerated over the coming decades to ultimately achieve emissions free powered flight,” president of the ICAO Council, Salvatore Sciacchitano, said.

“Countries have achieved some tremendous and very important diplomatic progress at this event, and on topics of crucial importance to the future sustainability of our planet and the air transport system which serves and connects its populations,” said ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar.

CORSIA review

Other notable environmental developments at the 41st ICAO Assembly included the completion of the first periodic review of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

Countries agreed on a new CORSIA baseline from 2024 onwards, defined as 85 per cent of CO2 emissions in 2019.

Air Transport Action Group

Executive director of the Air Transport Action Group, Haldane Dodd, said: “This is a milestone day for the aviation sector with governments backing up the industry goal on net-zero carbon by 2050.

“Air transport has always been able to work together to solve complex challenges and climate change is no different. We congratulate the world’s governments on reaching this important decision at ICAO.

“The spirit of global cooperation has been on show at ICAO over the past year with governments making the most of the benefits of multilateralism. But setting a goal is one thing.

“Making it a reality is where the hard work really begins and we need to continue – and accelerate – the efficiency improvements and energy transition that is already underway across the industry.”
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