Press Release

UK-led COP aviation declaration too weak to clean up flying

November 10, 2021

The International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition launched at the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.

The UK-led international climate ambition declaration for aviation announced today is too weak to reduce flying’s climate impact, says Transport & Environment. In relying on the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the signatories make the same mistakes as previous efforts to tackle aviation emissions, says the group.

The declaration, signed by the UK, France and the US, among others, recognises that the number of global air passengers and cargo is expected to increase significantly over the next few decades, putting significant pressure on the planet. It calls on states to observe the Paris Agreement’s goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. 

But, T&E warns, relying on ICAO and its carbon offsetting scheme to achieve net-zero in the long-term, will be just another distraction from real measures to clean up flying in the near term. 

Matt Finch, UK policy manager at T&E, said: “The world is crying out for strong action to address global aviation emissions. This is not it. We cannot let this declaration detract us from the fact that individual countries should be going further and faster.” 

Most worryingly, says T&E, is that in relying on ICAO the signatories have failed to take the most essential step to address aviation emissions by including these emissions in their national climate targets – something the UK, who led the declaration, committed to itself earlier this year.

Matt Finch concluded: “At a COP dedicated to raising ambition, it’s disappointing that these states continue to rely on the UN’s deeply flawed aviation agency. The signatories should follow the UK’s lead and take the essential first step of including their share of  aviation emissions in their individual country budgets. Clean aviation will remain grounded so long as states continue to shirk their individual responsibility to act.”

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