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Biden nominates former Florida governor Crist to international aviation post

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden is nominating former Florida Governor Charlie Crist to serve as U.S ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the White House said on Wednesday.

Crist, a former House lawmaker who lost an election in November to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in a bid to return to his old job, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate would replace C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger, the commercial pilot who safely landed an Airbus A320 on New York’s Hudson River in 2009 after hitting a flock of geese and stepped down in July 2022.

The United Nations civil aviation body in October agreed to a long-term aspirational goal for net-zero aviation emissions by 2050, despite challenges from China and other countries aligned largely with airlines amid pressure to curb air pollution. The 193-nation ICAO holds an assembly held every three years.

ICAO cannot impose rules but countries that approve decisions usually abide by them. An ICAO preparatory meeting in July had laid the goal’s groundwork after years of talks.

Airlines last year adopted a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 in a de facto dress-rehearsal that drew reservations from Chinese carriers, reflecting Beijing’s more cautious stance on multilateral action.

Airlines want global action to avoid countries imposing different rules and fees to curb emissions.

The United States has set a goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. aviation sector by 2050.

The White House said in 2021 it was targeting 20% lower aviation emissions by 2030, as airlines facing pressure from environmental groups to lower their carbon footprint pledged to use more sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Aviation generates approximately 2% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions and U.S. aviation consumes approximately 10% of U.S. transportation energy.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Diane Craft)

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