UN Secretary General Commends Aviation’s Commitment

New York - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, presented the aviation industry’s climate change strategy and targets to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a meeting at the United Nation’s headquarters in New York.

Bisignani presented on behalf of an aviation industry (airlines, airports, air navigation service providers and manufacturers) that is globally aligned in its approach to climate change. The aviation industry is addressing its climate change impacts with a four pillar strategy based on technology, operations, infrastructure and positive economic measures. Last week, the industry presented the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with a commitment to three sequential targets:

  • Improving fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% annually to 2020
  • Stabilizing carbon emissions with carbon-neutral growth from 2020
  • Cutting carbon emissions in half by 2050, compared to 2005 levels

“I assured the Secretary-General that the aviation industry is serious about its climate change responsibility. We have united all the players with a clear strategy and targets that are even tougher than those our regulators are prepared to administer. No other industry is as united, ambitious or determined. We are eager to work within the UN framework to achieve them. Our work with UN organizations has produced impressive results - working with ICAO we made flying the safest way to travel. With the support of governments we can make aviation a role model for successful industry partnerships with the UN to address climate change,” said Bisignani.

In the meeting, the UN Secretary-General commended the aviation industry’s commitment to contribute to the global fight against climate change and encouraged that these commitments be followed by concrete actions. He stressed the importance of addressing emissions from international aviation and shipping if the world is to achieve its goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions to a level that avoids dangerous climate change.

The discussions occurred in the run-up to the COP 15 in Copenhagen where governments will coordinate a post-Kyoto framework to address climate change. To successfully address its carbon emissions, aviation is seeking recognition of its targets and the agreement of governments to a global sectoral approach under the leadership of ICAO and in coordination with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

A global sectoral approach for aviation has three main elements:

  • That aviation’s carbon emissions are accounted for at a global level, not by state
  • That aviation should be fully accountable for its carbon emissions and required to pay only once for these emissions
  • That industry has access to global carbon markets to offset emissions until technology can provide the ultimate solution

“Our goal at Copenhagen is simple: to achieve a practical framework that will allow aviation to stabilize and eventually reduce its carbon emissions as a global industrial sector. I was encouraged by Secretary-General Ban’s understanding of what aviation has achieved so far, and I count on his support for a conclusion in Copenhagen that will set a framework for our future success,” said Bisignani.

Notes for Editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 230 airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic.

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