ICAO Member States agree on a global aspirational goal of net-zero emissions in aviation by 2050
Member States of the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, adopted almost unanimously a new long-term global aspirational goal (LTAG). In international aviation, the aim is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to net-zero by 2050. The ICAO Assembly was held in Montreal, Canada, from 27 September to 7 October 2022.
Finland’s aims at the Assembly were achieved, because as part of the European Civil Aviation Conference Finland was in favour of adopting the ambitious, long-term emissions reduction goal in line with the objectives of the Paris agreement on climate change. So far, ICAO has aimed at carbon neutral growth of aviation and improvement of energy efficiency.
Reducing emissions to net-zero means that a majority of them be eliminted. In addition, the part of the emissions that cannot be eliminated, will be compensated, i.e. emissions will be reduced in other sectors. There are several ways to achieve the reduction to net-zero, including low-emission technologies, new aviation fuels, such as biofuels and electricity, and development of flight methods that reduce emissions. The measures are supplemented by the Carbon Off-setting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, CORSIA.
The global CORSIA was implemented in 2021 and now the scheme was somewhat tightened. The Assembly agreed on changes to the emissions baseline. The airlines must compensate for any emissions exceeding the baseline mainly by financing the emissions reduction measures in other sectors. For 2021–2023, CORSIA will use the emissions in 2019 as the baseline. It was now agreed that from the beginning of 2024 the baseline will be 85% of the emissions in 2019. This will increase the efficiency of the scheme, because the lower the baseline, the bigger part of their emissions the airlines will have to compensate. The current number of parties to CORSIA amount to 117 ICAO Member States.
The goals of ICAO provide guidelines for the Member States, but they are not legally binding. ICAO monitors the trend in emissions from international aviation. If necessary, future assemblies will decide on changes to the goals or measures.
The global actions may be supplemented by national or regional emissions reduction measures. These include the proposals of the Fit for 55 package, which is under preparation in the EU, for making emissions-trading more effective in aviation, for the introduction of the blending mandate for renewable aviation fuels and for the introduction of the aviation fuel tax. The discussion on the proposals will continue in the EU at least for the autumn 2022.
Janne Mänttäri, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 342 569, firstname.lastname@example.org