The aviation industry has decided on long-term goals to reduce emissions. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – a United Nations body funded and directed by 193 national governments to support their diplomacy and cooperation in air transport, adopted a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The decision was made at the UN agency’s 41st Assembly, on Friday which is held every three years. The organization agreed climate action must be accelerated over the coming decades to “ultimately achieve emissions-free powered flight,” as stressed by the President of the ICAO Council Mr. Salvatore Sciacchitano.
Environmentalists though criticized the non-binding nature of the agreement as toothless. The decision was also described as a compromise by several European countries that wanted a more ambitious target.
What nations agree on is that several CO2 emissions reduction measures will need to be put in place to achieve the net zero goal. Those measures include accelerated adoption of new and innovative aircraft technologies, streamlined flight operations, and the increased production and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels.
The Assembly did not discuss the financing and investment support for the implementation of those actions, so there were calls for a third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels to be convened in 2023.
The International Civil Aviation Organization doesn’t impose rules but its decisions influence national policies. The net-zero goal set at the Assembly can also translate into accelerated supplies of new sustainable aviation fuel and more private investments for decarbonizing the aviation sector.