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Aviation industry embraces carbon reduction scheme

Vancouver (Platts)--16Nov2017/757 am EST/1257 GMT

The international airline industry is looking to the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to help meet its mid-term carbon neutral growth goals, panelists at the International Air Transport Association conference in Vancouver said Wednesday.

CORSIA requires airline operators to buy carbon offset credits to match any growth in emissions above their 2020 levels. It will launch in a voluntary capacity in 2021, and become mandatory for all countries in 2026.

"The aviation sector is fully committed to climate action," Michael Gill, IATA's director of aviation environment, said. "CORSIA will get us across the line in terms of our midterm carbon neutral growth goal."

Ahead of 2021, the airline industry is looking at ways to lower carbon emissions. The many-pronged approach includes research and development into alternative and renewable fuels, upgrading aircraft fleets and developing new flight path and air traffic control technology.

Scott Hartman, innovation manager at Shell Aviation, said that "collaborative solutions" would be needed for the industry to meet its targets. "We can have a successful industry and reduce emissions at the same time," he said.

IATA statistics showed global airlines released 815 million mt of carbon in 2016. The aviation industry was responsible for 2% of all human-induced carbon emissions and 12% of carbon emissions from transport sources for that year, as well.

Gill said the aviation industry is set to see a huge increase in its emissions profile. Airlines currently carry 3.57 billion passengers/year, a number projected to grow to 7.8 billion by 2036. Likewise, its current count of 62.7 million jobs worldwide is expected to grow to 99.1 million jobs worth $6 trillion by 2034.

"This industry has a climate responsibility, particularly with regards to carbon dioxide emissions," Gill said "The goal is to make improvements in technology, operations, infrastructure, and market-based measures in form of economic regulations. Then, as we move forward and further understand emissions, the industry can start to introduce improvements in the aircraft itself to reduce fuel burn."

As for the inclusion of biofuels into the jet fuel mix, Hartman admitted that "there is a need to deliver these fuels in an economically and environmentally stable way. Until then, the economics don't make sense in that space."

--Caroline Knight,
--Daron Jones,
--Edited by Lisa Miller,

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