The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is set to agree in 2016 on the first ever CO2 efficiency standard for new aircraft. With aviation responsible for an estimated 5% of global warming, and the sector’s emissions growing at 4-5% each year, an effective standard which delivers emission reductions beyond business-as-usual is essential if the objectives of the Paris Agreement are to be achieved. Environmental NGOs fear, however, that the outcome could be a weak standard which has little or no environmental impact.
Aviation giant Airbus is undermining a global fuel efficiency standard for new aircraft – barely weeks after Europe was instrumental in helping secure an ambitious UN global climate deal in Paris, a group of 17 European environmental NGOs  has claimed. Airbus and Boeing aircraft combined account for over 90% of global aviation emissions, but the European manufacturer is arguing it cannot accept a robust efficiency standard as it would damage its business – a claim which suggests it may not be so competitive on fuel efficiency.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation is due to agree, at its triennial General Assembly in October 2016, a global market based (GMBM) mechanism for international aviation emissions. The International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, a coalition of environmental NGOs which includes T&E, have drafted a Litmus Draft for what an environmentally effective GMBM would contain.
While the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) continued its essential work to develop a global market-based mechanism to cut the sector’s emissions, by far the biggest highlight of 2015 was the Paris COP21 summit.
The absence of any reference to international aviation and shipping emissions in the Paris Agreement casts doubts over who is responsible for reining in their skyrocketing emissions, green NGOs Seas At Risk, Carbon Market Watch and Transport & Environment have said. While the Agreement endorses a target of 1.5°C, this cannot be achieved unless these two sectors urgently rein in their emissions.
The Paris ‘Conference of the Parties’ 21, the most important climate conference since the failed Copenhagen one of six years ago, is nearing an outcome. The dramatic 13 November events in the city has surely added grit to France’s determination to succeed, and has forged some unusual alliances. There is some hope that the spirit of togetherness – not just against terrorism but also to tackle that other global threat which the COP is about – will help in forging a transformative deal.
The dropping of international aviation and shipping emissions from the draft Paris climate agreement published this afternoon has fatally undermined the prospects of keeping global warming below 2°C, green NGOs Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment (T&E) have said. As their emissions uniquely fall outside national reduction targets, they require an explicit reference in the agreement.
The presentation of the satirical Fossil of the Day award today in Paris to the UN bodies responsible for regulating international aviation and shipping emissions is just recognition of their totally inadequate contributions to fighting climate change, green group Transport & Environment has said. Emissions from planes and ships are the elephants in the climate talks room as they remain the only sectors of the international economy not being required to submit reduction pledges.
Aviation emissions are responsible for 5% of global warming and shipping makes up almost 3% of global CO2. These sectors have a CO2 impact equal to the UK and Germany and are continuing to grow rapidly – by up to 270% in 2050, by which time they could account for almost 40% of all emissions. Such emission growth will undermine reductions efforts by all countries and other sectors, effectively making the 1.5/2°C objective impossible to achieve.