Etihad Airways CEO Tony Douglas said Tuesday that achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is the “biggest challenge” for commercial aviation. The International Air Transport Association pledged carbon neutrality by 2050 last year, a goal shared by the UAE and several other countries.
“The biggest challenge to commercial aviation is the commitment that’s been made to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s CEO said in the Global Aerospace Summit in the UAE capital.
“As a gentleman of more mature years, it’s very easy for me and others to sign up to something like that, almost with the anticipation that it will be the next generation who has the responsibility to deliver upon that commitment.”
Fastest Growing Source of Greenhouse Gases
The aviation industry is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gases. Moreover, with air carriers considering hydrogen-powered planes to cut CO2 emissions. In October, IATA, which represents 290 airlines and accounts for 83 percent of global air traffic, made its net-zero pledge.
The UAE, one of the world’s largest oil exporters. Also announced last year a “strategic initiative” to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. It has verbally backed the battle against climate change in recent years. But it remains one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide per capita, along with other Gulf hydrocarbon producers.
“I imagine everybody in this room understands that. The physics of powered flight render the achievement of that objective extremely difficult anytime soon,” Douglas said.
“Our responsibility as leaders within the aerospace sector is to enable the foundations for the next generation. To deliver upon what will ultimately determine who are the winners and who are the losers in commercial aviation.”