What does it mean to be “net-zero”?
Net-zero emissions refer to a country’s absorption and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
The term “net-zero,” sometimes known as “carbon-neutrality,” does not imply that a country’s emissions will be zero. That would be gross-zero, which means there would be no emissions at all, which is a grim picture to imagine.
The 77th Annual General Meeting (Monday 4 October)of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) endorsed a resolution calling on the global air transport industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
This promise will be in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“For aviation, net-zero is a bold, audacious commitment. But it is also a necessity,” Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), told top airline executives meeting in Boston.
“The important decision that we must make today will secure the freedom to fly for future generations.”
“For others, this will be an additional challenge at a very difficult time” with the industry hard hit by global effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”
It will be a huge challenge to achieve net-zero emissions.
Reducing this level to attain net-zero emissions by 2050 will be a huge technological challenge, according to the IATA, costing businesses roughly $1.55 trillion between 2020 and 2050.
Even though air travel was facing a significant decline due to the Covid-19 outbreak, with a drop from 4.5 billion travelers in 2019 to 1.8 billion in 2020, IATA predicts that by 2050, more than 10 billion journeys manage annually by plane.
These fuels, which can be made from biomass, waste oils, or even carbon capture in the future, have the advantage of being able to be used in existing aircraft to run on 50-percent kerosene blends.
According to IATA, such fuel sources can lower CO2 emissions by 80 percent during their whole life cycle compared to kerosene.
“The problem is the capacity and the supply,” said Mikosz, who said the goal was “basically to grow to 450 billion liters of SAF compared to 100 million liters.”
Only India, the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse emissions after the United States and China, is resisting.
Instead of holding a separate conversation about net-zero targets outside of the Paris Agreement framework, India has argued that countries should focus on delivering on what they have already promised.
Although Airbus and Boeing have stated that their fleets will fly entirely on SAF by 2030, SAF now contributes less than 0.1 percent of all aviation fuel.
The key option, according to IATA, is to adopt sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), which would get the sector 65 percent of the way to its objective.