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Reducing aviation’s emissions across the globe

Aviation emits approximately 2% of the world’s carbon emissions, but accounts for nearly 5% of the global warming caused by human activity because of the sector’s additional climate impacts from contrails and NOx emissions (often referred to as non-CO2 impacts). Globally, passenger numbers are projected to double in the next 20 years.

Passenger numbers are projected to double in the next 20 years

Tackling climate change is an issue that often begins at the local level, overseen by governments developing strategies and targets that aim to achieve a net zero future. But emissions from international activities, like aviation and shipping, have been left out of national commitments in the past, with states opting to address them through, in aviation’s case, the UN body ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organisation). AEF has been participating in ICAO’s environmental work since 1998 as a representative of the international NGO coalition ICSA.

ICAO must develop a long-term, Paris-compatible climate goal by 2022, and governments must also account for aviation’s non-CO2 impacts.

What do we want to see?

  • ICAO should develop and agree mid- and long-term climate goals in line with the Paris Agreement, as well as a 1.5 degree temperature goal, by 2022.
  • Governments should recognise aviation’s non-CO2 climate impacts in climate targets, and should implement effective mitigation measures.
  • Stretching aircraft and engine manufacturing standards for CO2, NOx, PM and noise, and ICAO should ensure that any new generation of supersonic aircraft (those that fly faster than the speed of sound) meets standards that are at least as stringent as those currently in place for the current (subsonic) aircraft fleet.