Responses to the article "Carbon offsets are no fix for aviation’s climate problem"

Ryan Katz-Rosene shines an overdue light on the Canadian aviation industry’s growing climate emissions. It is shocking that governments have allowed this heavily subsidized sector to continue to increase its greenhouse gas emissions decade after decade even as climate change has wreaked more and more destruction on our country.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must fall 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 to prevent catastrophic planetary heating. However, emissions from Canadian airlines, according to Transport Canada, have increased by 74 per cent since 2005. (See Appendix A, Table 1, p. 26 of Transport Canada’s latest report on the topic.)

As Katz-Rosene indicates, Canada’s 2012 Action Plan to Reduce GHG Emissions from Aviation, co-developed with industry, was utterly unambitious. Its aspirational goals delayed any real emission reductions until 2050. It was also ineffective: Canadian airline emissions have grown by 36 per cent since the plan was released. Indeed, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation, Canada’s three largest airports – in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver – together release more GHG emissions than our country’s single largest emitter, Syncrude.

Transport Canada intends to launch a new aviation emission-reduction plan this year. The federal government must ensure that the new plan, unlike the last, requires the sector to significantly reduce its total emissions before 2030 – just as the United States’ new plan does.

For the sake of a climate-safe future, we simply can’t allow Canada’s aviation sector to be a climate laggard any longer.

Michael Polanyi, Toronto April 22, 2022

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