Countries Adopt Net-zero 2050 Aspirational Goal for International Flights | News | SDG Knowledge Hub

Member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have adopted a collective long-term global aspirational goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction measures, including the accelerated adoption of “new and innovative” aircraft technologies , streamlined flight operations, and the increased production and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels will contribute to the achievement of this goal.

Delegates to the 41st session of the ICAO Assembly also collectively underscored the importance of viable financing and investment to support the attainment of the new goal, and supported the ICAO’s Assistance, Capacity-building and Training for Sustainable Aviation Fuels program to Accelerate the availability and use of sustainable aviation fuels.

The adoption of the goal follows similar commitments from industry groups.

“Countries have achieved some tremendous and very important Diplomatic progress … 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.

Countries also completed the first periodic review of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), agreeing on a new CORSIA baseline from 2024 onwards. According to an ICAO press release, the baseline is defined as “85% of CO2 emissions in 2019.” Agreement was also achieved on “revised percentages for the sectoral and individual growth factors to be used for the calculation of offsetting requirements from 2030 onwards.”

Carbon emissions from domestic air operations are covered in countries’ commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change. Emissions resulting from the operation of international flights are addressed collectively under the Chicago Convention and the associated agreements achieved by states in ICAO.

The 41st session of the ICAO Assembly convened at ICAO Headquarters in Montreal, Canada, from 27 September to 7 October 2022. The ICAO Assembly is ICAO’s Sovereign body. It meets at least once every three years and is convened by ICAO’s governing body, the Council. [ICAO Press Release] [UN News Story] [SDG Knowledge Hub Articles on Sustainability Developments in ICAO]

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