IATA is outlining a proposal to the United Nations today under which airlines will aim to halve emissions by 2050.
Carriers will also set a target of improving carbon efficiency by 1.5% annually in the run-up to 2020 and, from then on, stabilise emissions through carbon-neutral growth.
The industry is to list the proposals before a UN summit on climate change taking place in New York today, ahead of a key convention on the subject in Copenhagen this December.
IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani says that a "patchwork" of emerging national and regional schemes will not address the environmental problem.
"We need a global approach for this industrial sector if we are to deal with climate change effectively," he says.
"Mechanisms designed for ground-based polluters will not work effectively for aviation, which can emit carbon dioxide across borders and over the high seas even on a single flight."
He describes the 2020 target as "aggressive" but says its strategy of concentrating on four areas - technology, infrastructure, operations and economic measures - is "already showing results".
Bisignani says that emissions from aviation are projected to fall by 2% this year as a result of this strategy, on top of a 5% decline attributed to the economic crisis.