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Airlines urge UN aviation body to rethink climate measures as industry collapses

By Chloé Farand | Climate Home News

Airlines are putting pressure on the UN to make it easier for them to curb emissions in the 2020s, as the industry reels from the collapse of air travel because of the coronavirus. EURACTIV’s partner Climate Home News reports.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents the world’s airlines, said it wanted to change the baselines from which traffic growth will be judged in coming years to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

It said it wanted  to “avoid an inappropriate economic burden on the sector” by dropping a planned baseline of average emissions in 2019-2020 that is likely to be much lower than 2019 since many flights are now grounded.

As part of efforts to curb the aviation sector’s growing emissions, countries that are members to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) – the UN body responsible for aviation – have agreed an “aspirational goal” to make all growth in international flights carbon neutral after 2020, compared to both 2019 and 2020.

Under the existing plan, countries have agreed to use a market-based offset mechanism known as CORSIA. But the public health crisis and collapse of air travel means emissions from aviation are anticipated to fall this year.