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Date: 10 October 2009

Press Conference, Montreal

Good morning from Montreal and thank you for joining us today.

It has been an incredible week at the ICAO High Level Meeting on International Aviation and Climate Change. Those of you who have read my remarks on Thursday have an idea of how difficult the situation was.

A United Industry Position

Industry arrived in Montreal with a strong, forward-looking, and united vision. I presented to the meeting a working paper on behalf of IATA’s 230 member airlines, as well as ACI, CANSO and ICCAIA. We presented governments with a single position for airlines, airports, air navigation service providers and manufacturers.

This included tough targets:

  • Improving fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% per year through 2020
  • Stabilizing emissions from 2020 with carbon neutral growth
  • And cutting emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005

We asked governments to make these targets a part of their solution. We also asked governments to take a global sectoral approach for aviation that takes into account the special needs of developing nations. A global sectoral approach means:

  • Accounting for aviation’s emissions globally, not by state
  • Keeping aviation accountable for all its emissions and ensuring that we only pay once, and
  • Giving aviation access to global carbon markets to offset emissions until technology provides the ultimate solution

The Meeting’s Challenges

There is a gap between the way that ICAO works with global standards and the way that the UNFCCC works with common but differentiated responsibilities. Bridging that gap to come to a solution was an enormous challenge. Governments will face a similar challenge in Copenhagen this December.

Aviation has always moved based on global standards. That is how we became the safe industry that we are today. ICAO, working with industry, has always managed to find solutions to move the industry forward, even on tough issues. Noise is a good example. Working with industry ICAO found a solution that is still effective today. With this same thinking, states did manage to bridge their differences and sign a declaration. This was a dress rehearsal for Copenhagen and the results—an agreement—were encouraging

The Declaration

Did the declaration deliver everything that we wanted? No. But we made solid progress towards a global sectoral approach. Governments took note of our targets and agreed some specific commitments:

  • 2% improvement in fuel efficiency to 2050
  • To look for more ambitious goals in time for the next Assembly in 2010
  • To find a framework for economic measures
  • And to encourage the development of sustainable biofuels

There is a gap between the declarations 2% fuel efficiency target and the industry position of a 1.5% average annual improvement to 2020. To cover this gap governments have some homework to do—improving air traffic management and accelerating biofuel development by establishing the right fiscal and legal frameworks.

In the longer term industry’s targets are more ambitious. The government targets in the declaration stop at fuel efficiency improvement. We are targeting net reductions. It is ironic…and interesting that our regulators are behind the curve. Nonetheless, industry remains united, committed to our targets and determined to achieve them.

You might ask why I am so positive about the meeting outcome? I am looking at the big picture. A single meeting will not change the world. But this meeting did stake out some important approaches.

The first reason is because the declaration makes it absolutely clear that industry is committed to improving environmental performance. In fact, industry is on the high ground and governments must catch-up. There is also recognition that governments and industry must cooperate.  Alone, neither can achieve what must be done to address climate change.

The second reason is that the declaration sets the stage for this cooperation by mentioning IATA, airports, ANSPs and manufacturer several times.
The last reason is that it specifically mentions looking at even more ambitious targets by the next Assembly which is only a year away.

IATA’s Mission

IATA comes out of this meeting with a strong mission. In the run-up to Copenhagen, we will be doing our best to ensure that Copenhagen treats us as a sector. Copenhagen must also recognize ICAO leadership with the support of industry and gives us the scope to deliver great results against our ambitious targets.

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