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Climate Change

Reducing climate change is a serious global challenge. Commercial aviation is responsible for about 2% of global carbon emissions. In 2009 the industry put in place an ambitious and robust carbon emissions strategy, with targets and a four-pillar action plan.

“It is our duty to protect the planet from the disastrous impacts of climate change.

Some say that the answer to climate change is to stop or heavily reduce flying. That would have grave consequences for people, jobs, and economies the world over. It would be a step backward to an isolated society that is smaller, poorer and constrained.

I say, let’s work together to make flying sustainable. CO2 is the problem. We can and are doing something meaningful to reduce it.” 

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General and CEO.​​​​​​​​​​​​


Three targets and four pillars

IATA recognizes the need to address the global challenge of climate change and adopted a set of ambitious targets to mitigate CO2 emissions from air transport:

  • An average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020
  • A cap on net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020 (carbon-neutral growth)
  • A reduction in net aviation CO2 emissions of 50% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels 

A multi-faceted approach: the four-pillar strategy

IATA is determined to be part of the solution but insists that, in order to achieve these targets, a strong commitment is required from all stakeholders working together through the four pillars of the aviation industry strategy:

  • Improved technology, including the deployment of sustainable low-carbon fuels
  • More efficient aircraft operations
  • Infrastructure improvements, including modernized air traffic management systems
  • A single global market-based measure, to fill the remaining emissions gap 

Fact sheets
Climate change (pdf)
Green taxes (pdf)

A global market-based measure for aviation

In 2016, the 39th ICAO Assembly concluded with the adoption of a global offsetting scheme to address CO2 emissions from international aviation. The agreement at ICAO demonstrates that aviation is determined to live up to its commitments and play its part in meeting international goals for emissions reduction. 

The scheme established by ICAO is a global offsetting mechanism, called CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation). CORSIA aims to help address any annual increase in total CO2 emissions from international civil aviation above 2020 levels.

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