U.N. aviation leaders cancel meeting in solidarity with climate change strikers

MONTREAL — A climate strike in Montreal today has prompted some organizations to shut their doors in solidarity — including a gathering of U.N. leaders in aviation, a field that has faced criticism for its emissions output.

The International Civil Aviation Organization is discussing how to reduce the sector’s environmental impact at meetings this week.

Experts say air passenger numbers will likely double by 2037, with commercial flying already comprising 2.5 per cent of global emissions.

The U.N. agency, which will resume meetings Saturday, says “everyone has the right and responsibility to reduce carbon emissions,” but adds that “most air traffic growth is occurring where it’s needed most” — in developing countries.

In a tweet Thursday, the Montreal-based body welcomed activist Greta Thunberg, who helped ignite a “flight-shaming” movement after protesting outside Sweden’s parliament for several weeks in August 2018.

More than 200 Montreal businesses and organizations are closing today to allow their staff to take part in the climate change strike, where Thunberg is slated to address some 300,000 demonstrators after meeting with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2019.

The Canadian Press