The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging African governments to support the adoption of a global offsetting scheme for carbon emissions at the 39th tri-annual Assembly of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal later this year.

IATA’s call comes seven months ahead of the ICAO summit where governments from 191 Member States will meet to agree on matters which set the worldwide policy on aviation for the upcoming triennium. Top of the agenda will be the proposed adoption of a global offsetting scheme for international aviation. Achieving agreement on this will be essential if the aviation sector is to meet its goal of carbon neutral growth from 2020 (CNG2020) which was adopted at the 37th ICAO Assembly in 2010.

The alternative is an increasing patchwork of taxes, charges and regulations, implemented nationally and regionally, that will restrict the value air transport can bring to the world.

Michael Gill, Director Aviation Environment said: “The industry has taken impressive steps to reduce CO2 emissions, with representatives from airlines, airports, air traffic management and manufacturing all playing their part. New technologies have been developed, alternative fuels have proved themselves to be a viable option and more efficient operating procedures are being established. Collaboratively the industry has exceeded its annual goal of a 1.5% increase in fuel efficiency. Additionally, significant steps have been made towards achieving the industry’s two further environmental goals, stabilising net emissions by 2020 and cutting emissions by 2050 to half of what they were in 2005.”

“Positive progress has been made but now the time has come for aviation to call on leadership from governments if we are to find a common solution to meet the goal of CNG2020. Only through the agreement of a global offsetting scheme will it be possible to establish a framework for aviation that is fair, transparent, practical and cost effective. That is why we are urging nations to agree on a global offsetting scheme at this year’s ICAO Assembly. We really wish to ensure that the momentum created by the recent ICAO agreement for a CO2 efficiency standard for commercial aircraft is not lost. A positive outcome at ICAO will support the sustainable future of aviation.”

IATA is holding a series of regional workshops across the globe to help raise awareness for the need for a market-based-measure in the lead up to the ICAO Assembly in September.

A number of these meetings in Africa started off with the first in Lagos on March 10 and Nairobi on March 11. In parallel ICAO is hosting a series of Global Aviation Dialogues (GLADs) on market-based-measures to address climate change in five regions including one in Dakar, Senegal on March 23-24.

Aviation has taken a proactive approach to reducing its climate impact and is committed to working to fulfil its ambitious climate change objectives. Air transport currently supports over 58 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in global GDP.

The industry is forecast to support 103 million jobs and $5.8 trillion in GDP by 2032. Having a global framework in place to achieve the industry’s environmental goals is essential to the sustainable growth of the industry.