Aviation produces an estimated 2% of global emissions from human activity which
“if left unchecked, will have further impacts on climate change
,” Figueres told an industry conference on aviation and the environment.[It is
actually more like 4.9% taking into account other climate effects. see link
“The world will continue to need a stong aviation industry
but the high flying plane must also be a symbol of pro-active action to address
climate change,” the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) said.
“Your sector has been proactive and I welcome that… but we face major challenges
and the aviation sector holds some critical keys,” Figueres added in a video message
to the two-day gathering in Geneva.
Over the past three years, airlines under the wing of the International Air Transport
Association (IATA), backed by the aerospace industry and airports, have set targets for cuts in carbon emissions.
They include 1.5% a year increases in fuel efficiency by 2020, carbon neutral
growth thereafter and a 50% cut in carbon emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
Cuts are being sought through more efficient modern aircraft, better flight management
and air traffic control and improvements in infrastructure, as well as the ongoing development of biofuels. [Worrying – see below].
However, industry executives warned that they needed a global and coordinated
approach from governments to issues such as aviation emissions, flight paths and
to stimulate the nascent biofuels industry.
Paul Steele, head of the Air Transport Action Group, a joint lobby for airlines,
airports and aircraft makers, said that 12,000 new aircraft would be needed at
a cost of 1.3 trillion dollars to meet the 2020 target.
Carbon neutral growth “is probably the most crucial target and probably the most
difficult one, and it’s certainly politically the most contentious one.”
“What we’re seing emerge is… a fragmented approach,” he complained.
The industry is pressing the 190-nation International Civil Aviation Organisation
(ICAO) to agree on a global framework on emissions at its assembly starting on
September 28, before aviation and shipping are scrutinised at the UN climate conference
in Cancun in December.
(c) 2010 AFP