Aviation for Sustainability
The impact of air transport on the atmosphere and the climate was estimated as 3.5%~4.9% of current anthropogenic radioactive forcing (Lee, 2009) with a high uncertainty due to emission at high altitudes (Szodruch, 2009). This number itself doesn’t tell us whether the impact is “small”, “significant” or “fair” (Randles & Bows, 2009) because aviation also brings a number of social and economical benefits. The sector has achieved significant improvements in environmental performance, for example, 90% noise reduction and 70% CO2 reduction (or fuel-efficiency increase) compared to the 1950s (Blackner, 2010). It must be remembered, however, that a stable increase of traffic is forecasted. Boeing estimated an average 5.2% to 5.9% growth of worldwide passenger traffic and cargo traffic, respectively, over the next 20 years (Boeing 2010).
The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) asked the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to pursue limitation or reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international flights (Conference of the Parties, 1997). ICAO formed the Group on International Aviation and Climate Change (GIACC) to develop an ICAO program of Action in January 2008. The ICAO’s discussion on climate change, however, has been caught between two opposite principals; UNFCCC’s principle on common, but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), and aviation’s Chicago Convention principle of nondiscrimination and equal and fair opportunities to develop international aviation. In other words, to achieve a consensus in the ICAO, a consensus both of countries which ratified the Kyoto Protocol and those countries which did not. Consideration on the two principles of the CBDR and the Chicago Convention caused very slow progress in the discussions.
A continuous increase in world fear about climate change and the absence of a central force in the ICAO consequently called to fore the sector agents’ awareness oftheir responsibility to work on climate change issues and their ambitious to take leadership in aviation development towards sus- tainability. A number of activities, which vary from R&D projects in manufacturing to international initiatives for air transport management (ATM) systems are now organized around the world, but especially in North America and Europe.