International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators’ (IAATO) members are to submit seasonal fuel consumption data to the Association’s secretariat for the first time.
This is part of a pledge made to create a climate change strategy for Antarctic tourism.
The fuel data, which will include vessels of all sizes, aircraft, and accessory vehicles, will be used by the 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 that the IAATO membership has collectively agreed to make.
While individual operators are expected and encouraged to go further within their own targets, IAATO members have also unanimously pledged to track the IMO’s target of at least 50% emissions reductions by 2030, compared with 2008 and global goals of net zero before 2050.
This, accompanied by an agreement by each member to build its own climate strategy and set emission reduction targets, is the start of a collective push to account for and reduce IAATO-operator emissions.
Pam Le Noury, IAATO’s Climate Change Committee Chair, 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,” she said.
Each year, at IAATO’s annual meeting, members discuss 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 meetings conclude with the voting in of new commitments and policies on best practice, which support the association’s mission.
These latest agreements were signed at IAATO’s annual meeting, held in Providence, RI in April, at which 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, at which IAATO was an invited expert.
The 2022/23 Antarctic season will be the first in which IAATO will aggregate the operator fuel data.
Amanda Lynnes, IAATO Director of Environment & Science Co-ordination, added: “Co-operative and co-ordinated 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,” she concluded.