IAG's net zero carbon target. Global aviation must follow its lead

Premium Analysis

On 10-Oct-2019 IAG became the first airline group in the world to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This moves it ahead of the global airline industry's long held target to halve emissions by 2050.

The aviation industry's halving target has been made to look inadequate compared with the United Nations newer and more ambitious target for the wider global economy to eliminate emissions. Governments in the UK, France, Norway and Sweden have committed in law to net zero emissions, and many others are moving towards this target.

Aviation led on emissions reduction targets, but leading the way more than a decade ago is no longer good enough. Aviation contributes only 2%-5% of global CO2 emissions, but a flight adds hugely to an individual's carbon footprint; there is rising awareness of climate change and a growing threat of a backlash against aviation.

CAPA has urged aviation to align itself with the more ambitious zero emissions target in a number of reports over the past year. IAG's move is therefore very welcome, but the industry must act in unison on this crucial issue. Perhaps IAG's commitment can be a catalyst for the whole of aviation to heed CAPA's call.

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