The ICAO Commits to Net-Zero By 2050 Target
“Two weeks of intensive diplomacy” by over 2,500 delegates from 184 States and 57 organisations has concluded in October 2022. The culmination? The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) pledge to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.
The ICAO is formed of 193 countries and was created in 1944 as a specialised agency of the United Nations to “support their diplomacy on international air transport matters.”
The previous climate goal set by the ICAO in 2010 committed to carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and a 2% annual improvement in fuel efficiency through 2050. This latest 2022 commitment sits in alignment with fellow industry groups, pledging to universally work towards the net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This follows suit with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) who pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 in 2021.
Although the pledge was unanimous, China, Russia, and Eritrea voiced concern surrounding the feasibility of the goal and argued that developed countries should provide financial support to developing nations who are still growing their aviation markets. This highlights an interesting question surrounding whether the burden should be placed equally across all countries internationally, or whether those who have had the opportunity to benefit greatly from their aviation markets should shoulder more of the global burden.
It also raises more questions surrounding the methods that will be necessary to achieve the net-zero target. The IATA guidance suggests that SAF could contribute around sixty-five per-cent of the reduction in emissions required.
The ICAO stated:
The “aspirational” pledge will be achieved through “the accelerated adoption of new and innovation aircraft technologies, streamlined flight operations, and the increased production and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).”
Furthermore, Salvatore Sciaccitano President of the ICAO Council said:
The adoption of the long term goal “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.”
Although the net-zero by 2050 pledge aligns with expectations, it remains an affirmation of the aviation industry’s commitment to reduce their impact on the climate.
Article by Jess Brownlow