The aviation sector must agree a global deal to tackle climate change says the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) in its new Aviation Emissions Policy Statement – pointing out the importance of airfreight to shippers.
GSF says the sector is a key enabler of economic growth and social development – and represents two per cent of global carbon emissions, but its projected growth means emissions are expected to increase significantly in the coming decades.
The forum says airfreight is an essential mode of transport for many industries including high-end manufacturing, engineering, pharmaceuticals and retailing, as it can take a month for goods to travel from Europe to the Far East by ship, but just a day by air.
GSF notes there are also time-sensitive cargos such as medicines and documents, which cannot travel any other way, while shippers are under increasing pressure to be able to report on the carbon intensity of their supply chains including transport.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has set a goal to improve fuel efficiency by two per cent each year and to have carbon neutral growth by 2020 (CNG20). The UN body has committed to agreeing a global deal this year.
GSF climate change policy advisor, Rachael Dillon says: “Airfreight is a vital mode of transport for shippers and GSF is pleased to see significant progress at ICAO to reduce aviation emissions.
“We support the focus on addressing carbon reduction via operational and fuel efficiency measures first and then using a global market-based measure (GMBM) based on carbon offsetting to address the remaining emissions.
“However, as with any market-based measure, we are concerned that costs can simply be passed down the supply chain to shippers.”
GSF says a pragmatic approach will need to be taken during ICAO’s 39th Assembly later this month as 191 Member States will need to reach consensus to sign off the global deal.
Just a few weeks ago, it emerged significant changes had been made to the planned offsetting approach. It was originally expected that the GMBM would begin from 2021, but instead a voluntary phase will be put in place until 2027 when the obligations become mandatory.
Dillon adds: “The initial voluntary phase should help ease the path to achieving the global deal and GSF will be closely following the negotiations at ICAO this September. Offsetting offers a simple and effective mechanism to reduce aviation’s emissions but we must ensure that cost burdens are shared between operators and customers as the technical elements of the deal are ironed out.”