In a recent interview with New Scientist I said that, while fully accepting that climate change is happening, I have never been totally convinced that CO2 was the key element in climate change as there are other gasses and causes that contribute.
I need to correct that comment. Science clearly tells us that of all the greenhouse gasses, CO2 is the top contributor to climate change. And that is why it has been the focus of aviation’s climate action. I should have been unequivocal on this fact, as I have been in many previous comments on the topic (see below). In fighting climate change, CO2 is the enemy that we are determined to defeat.
That is a message that should be familiar. For more than a decade we have recognized that aviation contributes 2% of manmade CO2, with this gas being the major cause of climate change. And we have been making steady progress towards our climate change commitments:
These targets keep aviation aligned with the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit an overall global temperature rise to under 2 degrees. And, while challenging, they are achievable using current or realistic near-term technology and operations.
Some airlines are even more ambitious. Some have made commitments to achieve, for example, net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Their leadership on this issue recalls the pioneering spirit of aviation—pushing the boundaries to do what was previously thought impossible.
Sustainability is not a competitive issue. It is like safety. Aviation’s business model will not work if we cannot promise both safety and sustainability to the flying public.
CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas. But it is by far the one that one that has the greatest impact. And for that reason, it is the focus of the world’s approach to combatting climate change in most industries. That is certainly the case for aviation where reducing CO2 emissions is the top environmental priority. And I’m happy to set the record straight on that fact.
Examples of recent commentary from Alexandre de Juniac on aviation and environment concerns:
”We want to be part of Europe's building of a new energy economy and we will do everything we can to make sustainable aviation fuels a priority for aviation in Europe and around the world,"
“In the climate change battle, carbon is the enemy. And we will defeat it with a move to new fuels and technologies.”
“I don't believe that there is shame in flying. I do believe that we must reduce emissions to make flying sustainable.”