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In the News

Geography in the News: Climate change: World aviation agrees 'aspirational' net zero plan

Vicki Woolven

10th October 2022

The world has finally agreed on a long-term plan to curb carbon emissions from flying. At a meeting in Montreal, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), pledged to support an "aspirational" net zero aviation goal by 2050. But just how realistic is this?

In 2015 countries around the globe agreed to the Paris Accord targets - a series of ambitious targets to tackle climate change. However, two key industries were missing - aviation and shipping.

The airline industry perhaps surprisingly only contributes around 2.5% of global carbon emissions, however scientists argue that the impact is greater, including the vapour trails produced by engines, and as a result the airline industry has been under pressure to find ways to reduce its carbon emissions.

ICAO member states have finally agreed to work towards a target of net zero emissions by 2050, something the UK government has been pushing for a number of years.

However, environmentalists are not so sure - they point out that this agreement is not legally binding, and that there is a lack of investment into alternative fuels, and actually the deal is based on offsetting*, rather than reducing emissions from flying. Airlines will be given a baseline of emissions they are allowed to emit, before having to invest in carbon offsetting schemes.

Only time will tell whether this net zero plan will come to anything - it does force member states to be more ambitious in their climate plans, and hopefully it will speed up development of greener jet fuels, and other technical improvements to decarbonise flying.

*Offsetting is a process where companies or individuals buy carbon credits from schemes such as forestry plantations to cancel out carbon emissions from activities like flying.

Read the full article here -

Vicki Woolven

Vicki Woolven is Subject Lead for Key Stage 4 Humanities at tutor2u. Vicki previously worked as a Head of Geography and Sociology for many years, leading her department to be one of the GA's first Centres of Excellent, and has been a content writer, senior examiner and local authority Key Practitioner for Humanities.

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