The global aviation industry has recently agreed an ambitious target of stabilising its carbon emissions from 2020 and aims towards reducing net emissions in 2050 to half of what they were in 2005. How this growing sector will achieve this will be explored in a gathering of top Asia-Pacific aviation industry executives in Hong Kong tomorrow.
Greener Skies 2009 brings together chief executives of Asia-Pacific airlines with aircraft and engine manufacturers and infrastructure providers. Conference organiser Christine McGee said that the conference was happening at a difficult time for the industry, Despite the economic downturn and the huge impact that this has had on airlines, the importance of tomorrows conference is reflective of the priority that aviation is placing on tackling its environmental impact. Tony Tyler, chief executive officer of Cathay Pacific Airways says, "Aviation's commitment to carbon neutral growth show that we are willing to face up to our climate change responsibilities while developing a more sustainable industry. We acknowledge we are part of the problem, and we have now come up with clear and firm commitments for emissions that demonstrate that we can become an important part of the solution." Paul Steele, executive director of the Geneva-based Air Transport Action Group, which coordinates aviation industry action on climate change agrees, The industrys ongoing collaborative effort to define and meet our target of carbon neutral growth from 2020 is a perfect example of how focused the aviation industry is on its climate change obligations. I dont know of any other industry that has a united set of specific targets like aviation, backed by the whole sector. It should be a role model for others to follow. As the worlds governments work towards an agreement for tackling climate change to follow on from the Kyoto Protocol, our industry stands ready to do its part too. We are asking for the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to: adopt the rigorous target of carbon neutral growth from 2020 which will stabilise our emissions; push for a global sectoral approach for aviation in the post-Kyoto agreement; and set a long-term goal of reducing emissions by 2050 to half of what they were in 2005. Although the aviation industry produces around two percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, the sector has come under scrutiny due to its growth. The move by the joint aviation industry airports, airlines, air traffic control bodies and manufacturers to provide recommendations for emissions reduction targets is set to be fed into the UN process through ICAO ahead of the UNFCCC COP15 negotiations in Copenhagen at the end of this year.