“Time for Action Is Now.”
That was the official slogan of COP25, the UN Climate Change Conference that recently took place in Madrid.
Attended by over 27,000 delegates from almost 200 Governments around the world, the goal was to reach a mutual agreement on how each nation could reduce their emissions. Agreeing on the specifics of Article 6 in the Paris Agreement proved to be tougher than expected. The negotiations failed and the 12 day meeting ended without an agreement. All eyes will be on COP26 which takes place next year in Glasgow.
Failing to reach a broad sweeping agreement did not mean the event was a total failure. In fact, the International Chamber of Commerce, Perlin and AirCarbon formed a partnership to tackle the challenge of reducing the worldwide aviation emissions. This initiative aims to raise “USD $40 billion in funding for climate projects and offset more than 2.6 billion tonnes of C02 emissions between 2021 and 2035.” According to Air Transport Action Group, the aviation industry is responsible for approximately 2% of human induced CO2 emissions.
This comes at the same time as the European Green Deal is being discussed. This legislation aims to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050. According to their website, this “should enable European citizens and businesses to benefit from sustainable green transition.” To achieve this goal, there would need to be a 90% reduction in transport emissions by the year 2050.
The need to take climate change action has become important across all industries.
However, it’s important to acknowledge the ongoing commitment and cooperation from the aviation sector towards reducing their carbon footprint and creating a healthier, more sustainable planet.
More than 65 million jobs worldwide are reliant on aviation and related tourism. There are large amounts of economic and social benefits being delivered by the industry, the big decision makers need to be sensitive to the needs of people who rely on the industry for their well-being (and often the well-being of their families too).
Here is how we think the COP25 negotiations and the European Green Deal will change the aviation industry landscape.
Airports will become more efficient
The airports of tomorrow will look more at green eco-friendly solutions to power their operations. Some airports are already implementing full scale initiatives to save and recycle water. Waste separation schemes that separate plastic, glass, cans and bins might be rolled out. Mowed grass could even be used for feed, as it is at Kansai Airports.
Aircraft will be more environmentally friendly
Planes will continue to become more fuel efficient. There will be more direct flight paths to destinations. Bio-fuel options might be a mainstay. Engineering innovation will also help reduce the surrounding air pollution and noise pollution from take offs and landings.
Initiatives like Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) will increase in size and scope
This initiative group was formed to help airports manage, reduce and neutralise their carbon footprint. There are four levels of certification; mapping, reduction, optimisation and neutrality. An airport must have their carbon footprints independently verified to join. The top level of certification is having an airport that has completely carbon neutral operations by offsetting all of its emissions.
With a large reduction needed in the carbon footprint of domestic and international travel, we foresee more initiatives like this getting rolled out across airports all around the world. Currently, 290+ airports are signed up to this program. We foresee this number increasing markedly between now and 2050.
Envisa is proud to help businesses in the aviation industry become carbon neutral. Formed in 2004, we are a consulting firm specialising in aviation and sustainability.
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