UN Aviation Conference Reduces Carbon Reduction Target


During U.N.-led discussions on Friday, countries agreed to reduce a 2030 goal to cut carbon emissions from international aviation by incorporating cleaner energy including sustainable aviation fuel, according to reporting from Reuters.

The agreement came after days of discussions led by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Dubai, where countries called for 5% lower carbon emissions—a decrease from its earlier target of 5-8%. ICAO called it a “giant leap to accelerate its decarbonization.” 

According to Reuters, the aviation sector says cost estimates for achieving net zero carbon emissions range from $1.4 trillion to $3.2 trillion—underscoring the need for global participation in developing and advancing SAF. 

In its press release, ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar noted that “achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 will require substantial and sustained investment and financing over the coming decades. We must furthermore assure reliable and affordable support and capacity-building for those States with particular needs, as they will be depending on it to help play their part.” 

This week’s meeting preceded the upcoming COP28 climate summit set for next week, convened by the U.N. 

Amelia Walsh
Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.


  1. My biggest concern with SAF, or any sustainable fuel for any purpose, is that we are flying/driving our food. There are not enough greasy fast-food spots to supply used vegetable products for widespread fuel use, so we will turn to food crops (soybeans are big) – decreasing the supply and raising costs for food. I grow beans and will enjoy a big price leap but I fear for future food supplies.

  2. If you are concerned that CO2 is causing a ‘greenhouse ‘ affect…
    “Water vapor accounts for about 97 percent of the total (natural plus man-emitted) greenhouse warming of the planet. See, e.g., John Houghton’s ‘The Physics of Atmospheres, 3rd edition,’ Cambridge University Press, 2002.

    So, now what ?

    • Now what?
      Read – ASK NASA CLIMATE | February 8, 2022, 07:55 PST
      Steamy Relationships: How Atmospheric Water Vapor Amplifies Earth’s Greenhouse Effect
      By Alan Buis,
      NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
      -Should help.

  3. The atmosphere only has 0.04% total CO2..
    People only add 2% of all yearly released co2.
    Aircraft only add 2% of that 2% from people.
    The agreement will reduce by 5% that 2% of the 2%.

    Basically the nearly insignificant 0.0004 amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will equally be insignificantly affected by reducing annual people emitted CO2 by 0.00002.

    • I really thought we had all learned from our past mathematical mistakes, never mind the physics mistakes.

      For JimH in CA:

      Houghton’s ‘The Physics of Atmospheres’ is a good text, but you actually have to read and understand it before you just start throwing it out as source material. I could quote lots of books accurately, but if I don’t understand the context of my quote, I’ll probably sound like I’m merely using a citation to try and cover up the fact that I don’t actually know what I’m talking about. This appears to be the case here.

      A ridiculous example of context and math (and one I have tried to explain to Mr. Foyt in the past), would be the fact that if I change just 3% of the mass of my airplane, it should make no meaningful difference based on your out of context quote and logic. Because as you have rightly pointed out, in the atmosphere, “97 percent of the total (natural plus man-emitted) greenhouse warming of the planet” is due to water vapor. This means that it is the primary driver of warming, so why bother with the rest if it’s just 3%. Well of course I can change 3% of the mass of my airplane and it will make no meaningful change by the same logic. Swap out some old radios, maybe remove the ADF (though I can’t part with mine), or perhaps put swap in a lightweight battery. These are examples that might change the mass 3%. Other examples would be to remove the a few of the bolts attaching the main wing spar to the fuselage, or half the propeller, or…you get the point. These would have a significant effect on my flight, despite making up just 3% of the mass.

      Yes, anybody who has read the least little bit about the atmosphere, let alone studied it, knows that the primary greenhouse gas is H2O. But just as iron is a critical, though minute part of your blood when compared to H20, make a very small change in Fe, and you’ll see some very large changes in your life (of course I could pick a plethora of elements in the body).

      So as anybody who has actually read ‘The Physics of Atmospheres,’ or at least a significant number of the 269 pages (mine is a 2nd edition, 3rd edition may vary), they would understand as is explicitly pointed out in the text, that the atmosphere is driven my extremely small changes in both the physical and chemical (related of course) dynamics. So in fact a very small change, in a very small percentage of the atmosphere can be the difference between a massive hurricane and a strong breeze through the lower latitudes. Or in the context here, a small change in the levels of CO2 (an extremely small percentage of the atmosphere as Mr. Foyt loves to point out), can indeed drive a very large change in decadal scale climate response. Heck, even though it’s more of a thought experiment, they even came up with a name for this kind of thing specifically for the atmosphere, the ‘butterfly effect.’

      So, now what?

      Now we should admit when we don’t know something and instead of just throwing some factoid from a good science text out into the comment section of avweb, we should be curious minded pilots who want to actually learn more about the atmosphere we fly in. Read more of the book, learn about radiative heating, black body radiation, atmospheric chemistry, I could go on, but the point is that there’s so much amazing and interesting information to learn. Pilots used to be a curious bunch that prided themselves on learning, sadly I hear more and more of the quotes like those above that show no curiosity and no learning, and instead just like to show off what they don’t know by quoting books out of context. Kind of reminds me of talking with somebody who watched Top Gun and can tell you how to catch the 3-wire at night on a heaving deck. Sounds impressive, until you realize they don’t have a clue.

      Oh, and Mr. Foyt…seriously?!?! You’re still throwing out your bad math and physics skills? I really thought that Lomonosov University trained you guys better. Or at least after having been shown how wrong you are several times, you would at least want to learn some basic math and physics.

      • I’m calling for curiosity. People who ignore the thousands of other large factors and only concentrate on 2% of a small trace gas (and say that the science is settled) are not! Quite the opposite!