Aviation and the Global Atmosphere

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was jointly established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988 to: (i) assess available information on the science, the impacts, and the economics of, and the options for mitigating and/or adapting to, climate change and (ii) provide, on request, scientific/technical/socio-economic advice to the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since then the IPCC has produced a series of Assessment Reports, Special Reports, Technical Papers, methodologies, and other products that have become standard works of reference, widely used by policymakers, scientists, and other experts.

This Special Report was prepared following a request from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The state of understanding of the relevant science of the atmosphere, aviation technology, and socio-economic issues associated with mitigation options is assessed and reported for both subsonic and supersonic fleets. The potential effects that aviation has had in the past and may have in the future on both stratospheric ozone depletion and global climate change are covered; environmental impacts of aviation at the local scale, however, are not addressed. The report synthesizes the findings to identify and characterize options for mitigating future impacts.

As is usual in the IPCC, success in producing this report has depended first and foremost on the enthusiasm and cooperation of experts worldwide in many related but different disciplines. We would like to express our gratitude to all the Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, Contributing Authors, Review Editors, and Expert Reviewers. These individuals have devoted enormous time and effort to produce this report and we are extremely grateful for their commitment to the IPCC process.

We would also like to express our sincere thanks to:

  • Robert Watson, the Chairman of the IPCC and Co-Chair of the Scientific Assessment Panel to the Montreal Protocol
  • John Houghton, Ding Yihui, Bert Metz, and Ogunlade Davidson-the Co-Chairs of IPCC Working Groups I and III
  • Daniel Albritton, Co-Chair of the Scientific Assessment Panel to the Montreal Protocol
  • David Lister and Joyce Penner, the Coordinators of this Special Report
  • Daniel Albritton, John Crayston, Ogunlade Davidson, David Griggs, Neil Harris, John Houghton, Mack McFarland, Bert Metz, Nelson Sabogal, N. Sundararaman, Robert Watson, and Howard Wesoky-the Science Steering Committee for this Special Report
  • David Griggs, David Dokken, and all the staff of the Working Group I and II Technical Support Units, including Mack McFarland, Richard Moss, Anne Murrill, Sandy MacCracken, Maria Noguer, Laura Van Wie McGrory, Neil Leary, Paul van der Linden, and Flo Ormond, and Neil Harris who provided additional help
  • N. Sundararaman, the Secretary of the IPCC, and his staff, Rudie Bourgeois, Cecilia Tanikie, and Chantal Ettori.

G.O.P. Obasi
(Secretary-General World Meteorological Organization)

K. Töpfer
(Executive Director United Nations Environment Programme and
Director-General United Nations Office in Nairobi)

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