Efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus are changing the way they work and play, and these changes are temporarily curbing greenhouse gas emissions,media reported. Concerns about the outbreak have led to a drop in passenger demand in January, according to the international air transport association (IATA), an industry body, which says it is only the “tip of the iceberg”.
Many airlines continue to slash their flights as more and more people decide not to fly during the outbreak.
IATA expects airlines’ global passenger revenues to continue to fall by 11 to 19 per cent this year.
The decline in tourist numbers means that pollution from airplanes has also been reduced. It is understood that the aviation industry currently accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a figure that is expected to grow by 2050. Now, with fewer business and leisure trips, airlines are ushering in a cleaner, more affordable future.
“The turn of events caused by the NEW Coronavirus (COVID-19) event is almost unprecedented. In just over two months, the industry’s prospects have deteriorated dramatically in most parts of the world,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director-general and CEO, said in a statement last week. “
This particular crisis is sparking strong opposition from some airlines to environmental protection. IATA and airlines, including Air France-KLM, have called for tax breaks for Europe. At the same time, there are concerns that this year’s reduction in air travel will affect mandatory carbon offsets, which are due to take effect next year. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), airlines will need to offset the increase in carbon emissions from international flights between more than 190 countries starting in 2021. To meet this requirement, airlines need to invest in renewable energy or tree-planting projects to help prevent greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.
Now, however, some environmentalists worry that in the face of increasing pressure, airlines may withdraw their climate commitments or push for looser standards on the quality of carbon compensation they are allowed to buy. Environmental groups expect a decision on what carbon offset credit sits airlines will allow airlines to buy at Friday’s meeting in Montreal.