Members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) will for the first time submit seasonal fuel consumption data to the Association’s secretariat as part of a unanimous pledge to create a climate change strategy for Antarctic tourism.
The fuel data submission, which will include vessels of all sizes, aircraft, and accessory vehicles, will be used within the responsible tourism association to understand the greenhouse gas footprint of IAATO operations in Antarctica. The results will then be used internally as the basis to monitor and refine emission reduction targets the IAATO membership has collectively agreed to make.
While individual operators are expected and encouraged to go further in their own targets, IAATO operators have also unanimously pledged to track the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) target of at least 50% emissions reductions by 2050 compared with 2008 and global goals of net zero* before 2050. This, accompanied by an agreement by each member to build their own climate strategy and set their own emission reduction targets, is the start of a collective push to account for and reduce IAATO-Operator emissions.
Pam Le Noury, Chair of IAATO’s Climate Change Committee, said: “Ultimately, we seek to go much further towards net positive impact, but the current challenge in shipping and aviation is that we don’t yet know what future fuels and technologies will be available to us.”
“This latest commitment by our Operators to submit their fuel data to the IAATO Secretariat for analysis, means that once we have acceleration in the development of sustainable fuels and other technologies, we will be in a strong position to act to reduce emissions further.”
Every year at IAATO’s annual meeting, members have open and candid discussions on safety, environmental protection, and self-management. Decision-making is supported by recommendations developed by IAATO’s 10 dedicated committees and eight working groups throughout the year. The meeting concludes annually with the voting in of new commitments and policies on best practice which support the association’s mission.
These latest agreements took place at IAATO’s annual meeting, held in Providence, RI in April, where operators unanimously pledged to build a climate strategy including calculating and reducing industry emissions and setting meaningful and inclusive science-based targets. The pledge was shared with the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in June, where IAATO is an invited expert.
The 2022/23 Antarctic season will be the first season in which IAATO will aggregate Operator fuel data.
Amanda Lynnes, IAATO Director of Environment & Science Coordination, said: “Cooperative and coordinated international responses are required to understand global climate change and reduce emissions.
“One of IAATO’s strengths is the ability of its diverse membership to take collective action, often over and above what is required by global regulators. Our members remain agile in response to emerging technologies and global recommendations surrounding climate change and are committed to taking powerful steps to act for Antarctica.”
* Net zero emissions are achieved when anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere are balanced by anthropogenic removals over a specified period..