Transport Secretary calls for international action to decarbonise global aviation

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Decarbonising the aviation sector requires global action, new Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will tell the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly in Montreal today.

The UK is attending the Assembly with the aim of reaching agreements that help secure the sustainability and resilience of global aviation.

During the Transport Secretary’s opening statement, ICAO – the United Nations’ body in charge of ensuring aviation is safe, secure, and environmentally friendly – will be urged to adopt a long-term goal to clean up the sector and reduce its emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

The Secretary of State will also highlight the need for countries around the world to learn lessons from the international response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and to ensure the global aviation sector is better prepared for future threats, such as public health crises.

Her intervention comes after the International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition, launched by the UK at COP26, met on Monday in Montreal. Now bringing together governments from 56 countries across the world, the Coalition calls for ambitious action by ICAO and is committed to promoting use of new fuels and technologies to tackle aviation’s contribution to climate change.

Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is expected to say: “We value international aviation’s important contribution to global commerce, travel and tourism, and to economic growth globally. Now it must do so sustainably. Failure here puts the future of aviation itself at risk.

“We cannot ignore the threat that rising temperatures pose to our planet. This year alone we have seen extreme weather events affect all of our regions.

“As one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, aviation has an important role to play in tackling climate change.”

Suzi Kerr, Senior Vice President & Chief Economist, Environmental Defense Fund, said: “There’s a bright future ahead where we can all thrive in a stable climate, and where we can chart a more sustainable flightpath while protecting ecosystems and supporting communities.

“Now is the time for countries to set a long-term path, define waypoints and ambition in the short term, and enhance transparency and cooperation. Coordination and cooperation, such as through the International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition, and engagement with civil society are critical to this effort.”

The Assembly will be asked to agree to focus on new aircraft technologies and unlocking the full potential of sustainable aviation fuels on a global scale.

The push for stronger international action comes after the Government published its Jet Zero Strategy in July, which set out how UK aviation will achieve net zero emissions by 2050 through new fuels, technologies and other measures, and made clear how crucial international action and collaboration through ICAO is to effectively address aviation’s emissions.

The UK has also committed to introduce a Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) mandate from 2025, requiring at least 10% of jet fuel to be from sustainable sources by 2030, with increasing proportions of SAF blended from 2025.

Turning to support for Ukraine, the Transport Secretary will reaffirm the UK’s continued condemnation of the Russian Government’s reprehensible actions which violate international law, the UN Charter, and global aviation rules.

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