Can aviation growth really be carbon neutral by 2020?

IATA set quite a target when it trumpeted its goal for the aviation industry to achieve carbon neutral growth in 2020 and to halve its emissions by 50% over 2005 levels by 2050.

Here at the Aviation and the Environment Summit in Geneva, these goals have once again been stressed and we’ve heard a lot of exciting stuff about promising technologies and biofuels that could help this to become a reality.

But Air Transport Action Group chief Paul Steele today admitted that carbon offsets might be needed to enable IATA to meet its carbon neutral growth targets.

Legislators are keen to see results before 2020. As Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) quite bluntly put it today: “Time is not on our side. We need to see significant emission reductions before 2020.”

The aviation industry aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5% per annum between now and 2020.

As usual, the old adage of a global solution being needed for a global problem is being repeated. But consensus still seems to be sadly lacking. Maybe the upcoming 37th ICAO Assembly and the UNFCCC climate change summit in Cancun will surprise us and come up with some kind of global framework. 



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