The UN’s civil aviation body has committed to reducing the carbon emissions produced by commercial aircraft.
In a meeting in Montreal, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommended a new standard for CO2 emissions, paving the way for its future adoption.
The measures, which were unanimously recommended by the 170 international experts on ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), include an average 4% reduction in CO2 emissions for all new aircraft designs from 2020, as well as current in-production aircraft types being delivered from 2023. A cut-off date of 2028 for production of aircraft that do not comply with the standard has also been recommended.
ICAO said the CO2 reductions could be achieved through a “range of possible technology innovations, whether structural, aerodynamic or propulsion-based”.
“The goal of this process is ultimately to ensure that when the next generation of aircraft types enter service, there will be guaranteed reductions in international CO2 emissions,” said Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, president of the ICAO Council. “Our sector presently accounts for under two percent of the world’s annual CO2 emissions, but we also recognise that the projected doubling of global passengers and flights by 2030 must be managed responsibly and sustainably.”
The proposed global standard is especially stringent on larger aircraft, which produce the highest emissions. But ICAO said that “great care was taken” to ensure that the measures cover all sizes and types of aircraft.
Boeing said it is “fully committed to meeting the new CO2 emissions standard”. In fact some of its newest aircraft, such as the B787 Dreamliner and B737 MAX series, will already meet the new targets.
The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) noted that by 2020, the average commercial aircraft would already be 10% more efficient than the ICAO standard. This, it claims, means that the new measures “will serve primarily to prevent backsliding in emissions.”
Under the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global aviation industry has committed to carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and a 50% cut on CO2 emissions by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.