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Global Network of Organizations Recommends Ways to Reverse Aviation Growth, to UNFCCC
A big step in taming climate change is the objective
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October 23rd, 2018 – Stay Grounded, a new global network of about 80 organisations working to curb the commercial aviation sector’s unrestrained expansion, today submitted recommendations to the United Nations’ climate change policy body.
The submission is through a process called the Talanoa Dialogue, which the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established last year at the request of delegates from Fiji and other Pacific island nations. The process follows their cultural traditions. Stay Grounded provided answers to the three Talanoa questions: “Where are we?; Where do we want to go?; and How do we get there?”
Where are we? Stay Grounded’s answer explains why air travel causes substantial climate impacts, and that its rapid growth is greater than technological improvements that reduce greenhouse gas emissions of aircraft. The facts used come from cited scientific papers and reports. Aviation will make it extremely difficult for the world to collectively meet the targets under the Paris Climate Agreement.
“No regulations exist to limit the growth of aviation, even though the industry plans to expand rapidly and is already the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, “ says Mira Kapfinger, coordinator of the Stay Grounded Network. “Industry’s only proposed solutions to these emissions involve biofuels and emissions offsets, both of which are highly problematic and will only worsen social and environmental problems.” 1
Where do we want to go? Stay Grounded’s submission identifies flying as “a keystone issue” for reducing climate breakdown. The regulatory body the UN is presently using to regulate aviation emissions, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is an agency captured by the industry it regulates. ICAO’s regulations are ineffective for taming climate change, so Stay Grounded says it is urgent for UNFCCC to take over the setting of aviation climate policy. The document also asks UNFCCC to adopt policy that favours low- and zero-carbon ground transportation as an alternative, and that promotes regional instead of overseas holidays.
How do we get there? Stay Grounded offers, but also goes beyond, the several often seen policy suggestions for reducing air travel and use of air freight – a fuel tax; a frequent flyer levy; and limiting new airports, airport expansions or aircraft “slots”.
UNFCCC does its policymaking at an annual conference of the parties (COP). COP24 will be held in Poland in December. Submissions to the Talanoa Dialogue are on-record for potential consideration at this COP.
“Many of our network’s member organizations are disenchanted by the COP process to date and by the influence that corporations have had in the COP’s resistance to the systemic change the climate dilemma demands, “ says Mira Kapfinger. “Still we want to make use of the chance the Talanoa Dialogue provides to bring in new perspectives into the COP process.”
Link to the Submission: https://unfccc.int/documents/183380
Background on the Talanoa Process: The purpose of the Talanoa Dialogue is for UNFCCC Parties and non-party stakeholders to answer three questions concerning climate change: Where are we?; Where do we want to go?; and How do we get there? The objective of the process is to collect “constructive, facilitative and solutions-oriented thoughts” toward a dialogue “which results in better decision-making for the collective good”.2
- “The illusion of green flying.” https://stay-grounded.org/the-illusion-of-green-flying/
- UNFCCC, “Approach to the Talanoa Dialogue.” https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/9fc76f74-a749-4eec-9a06-5907e013dbc9/downloads/1c4ka24ki_885389.pdf