CAPA Live: What happens when an existential threat meets a threat to our existence?


CAPA Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Peter Harbison, delivers an address on the environmental sustainability pressures facing the global aviation industry before and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

At this month’s CAPA Live Summit, screening on Wednesday 10-Mar-2021 and addressing the theme of sustainability, Mr Harbison says finding a balance between survival of the world and survival of the aviation and travel industry is “not an easy equation...One is an existential threat, and the other one is a threat to our existence; one is very short term, the other one is short-term and long-term”.

CAPA Live for March 2021 welcomes over 5000 industry professionals including over 1000 airline delegates from just over 200 airlines. This month’s highlights include interviews with Air France CEO, Anne Rigail; United Airlines CEO, Scott Kirby; LATAM Airlines Group CEO, Roberto Alvo; Jetstar Airways Group CEO, Gareth Evans and Airbus VP Zero Emission Aircraft, Glenn Llewellyn. CAPA Live sponsors include our Global Cornerstone Partner, Travelport; Global Platinum Partner, IBM; Platinum partners, Skyscanner, HACTL and App in the Air, as well our event partner, HRS. 

For more information on the Mar-2021 edition of CAPA Live, click here.

The existential threat vs the threat to our existence

The existential threat is about travel and tourism, which in 2019 accounted for about one in ten jobs around the world, and one in five of every new jobs, according to the WTTC. And in a lot of cases, from Greece to the Pacific Islands they are even more reliant on travel. As a large part of that traveling inevitably is by air, the aviation system is inextricably linked to travel.

On the other hand, the threat to our existence is real and seemingly inevitable, unless we act. The emission of carbon dioxide from human activity is increasing more than 250 times faster than it did from natural sources after the last ice age, according to NASA. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are at unprecedented levels – and rising – creating a climate emergency.

Atmospheric CO2 level

One of the key underlying issues here is that the focus for government should remain on how to reduce CO2 emissions rather than the sort of short-sighted and ineffective measures such as new taxes. Incentivising the creation of new sustainable fuels for aircraft is a real step in the right direction.

Peter Harbison joins a stellar line up of speakers for the Mar-2021 edition of CAPA Live, our monthly (second Wednesday of each month) virtual global event.