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Aviation Summit Calls for Global Framework on Emissions Reductions

22 March 2012: The sixth Aviation and Environment Summit discussed the contribution of the aviation industry to sustainable development. The Summit concluded with the adoption of an industry declaration titled "Aviation Benefits Beyond Boundaries," as a joint message to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

The Summit, which convened from 21-22 March 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland, brought together over 350 participants including representatives from the aviation industry, civil society, governments and suppliers. It included panels on: the role of aviation in sustainable development; developing sustainable capacity; key scale-up challenges associated with biofuels; and securing a global emissions reduction framework. High-level sessions addressed ensuring a sustainable aviation industry, and securing aviation's role in global sustainable development.

In a keynote address, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism, South Africa, called on Europe to suspend the integration of civil aviation into its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for two years, in order to give time for the development of a global framework under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

In the "Aviation Benefits Beyond Boundaries" declaration, industry leaders commit to continue to deliver on its short-term promise to increase fuel efficiency by 1.5% per year through 2020, and broaden their commitment to advancing and strengthening the pillars of sustainable development by continuing to: provide an air transport sector that is a key socioeconomic contributor to the world economy; provide high value jobs; invest in skills and training; maintain a high level of investment in research and development; and demonstrate environmental leadership by delivering on their goal to cap net aircraft carbon emissions from 2020 and work to achieve a 50% reduction in net carbon emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.

The declaration calls on governments to: continue investing in research for development and the implementation of green technologies and operational practices; act to advance highly-efficient air traffic control capacity; encourage the use of alternative renewable energy, in particular aviation biofuels, by providing appropriate policies and incentives; continue the development of sustainable airport infrastructure; provide a positive regulatory environment; and reach an agreement at ICAO for a global framework to reduce emissions from aircraft operations using technology development, efficient operations and infrastructure, and the use of international market-based measures to address any remaining emissions gap.

The Summit was co-sponsored by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), the Airports Council International (ACI), the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Coordinating Council for Aerospace Industries Association (ICCAIA). [Industry Declaration "Aviation Benefits Beyond Boundaries"] [Air Transport Action Group Press Release] [IISD RS Coverage of the Aviation and Environment Summit]