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Global deal or no deal? Your free guide to the ICAO Assembly

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 The International Civil Aviation Organisation's 38th triennial Assembly meets in Montreal from 24 September to 4 October 2013. The Organisation is facing its biggest test so far to fulfil a 16-year old obligation under the Kyoto Protocol to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation. Having turned down the option of implementing a global emissions trading system in 2004, this Assembly is being asked nearly a decade later to commit to a process towards an as yet vaguely defined global measure with unclear environmental impacts which would not take effect until 2020. This guide explains the history of ICAO's inaction, the current state of play, and what environmental NGOs believe the Organisation should to do address rising emissions from international aviation. 

ICSA documents submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organisation

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ICSA, the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, has observer status at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), where it represents environmental NGOs and civil society. T&E is a founding member. ICSA has submitted several working papers to the Organisation in order to help convince states and industry at the 38th ICAO triennial Assembly of the urgent need for action to develop and implement by 2016 a market based measure that will be effective in reducing international aviation emissions.

Vote on biofuels creates more uncertainty

The vote in the European Parliament’s plenary session in September put EU biofuels policy a step closer to being environmentally useful, but it will likely lead to delays in final agreement, which creates further uncertainty for the industry. MEPs voted to limit the use of land-based biofuels and to recognise the problem of indirect land-use change (ILUC) in future biofuels laws. But they failed to give a negotiating mandate, which would enable all institutions to conclude the agreement before the next year’s elections.

Letter to the Commission on ICAO Assembly

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This letter was sent to Mr Barroso, Mr Kallas and Ms Hedegaard by leading NGOs working on reducing the climate impact of international aviation. In it they express the grave concerns of NGOs at developments in the run-up to the ICAO Assembly, and suggest possible ways forward.

Acting now is cheaper than delaying, two new studies warn

Two new reports have highlighted the dangers of governments delaying action to limit transport emissions. A study from Germany says economic growth will be much harder to achieve if international action to cut climate-changing emissions is not achieved by 2015. And a study from the UK on how carbon emissions from aircraft contribute to global warming has also stressed the importance of acting now, not in several years.

T&E response to Commission consultation on ICAO assembly

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In June 2013, the European Commission launched a consultation on the policy options for market-based measures to reduce the climate-change impact from international aviation. The consultation seeks input on questions concerning the policy options currently being developed on the international level at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and to obtain stakeholder views on options to reduce the administrative effort for small aircraft operators under the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS). A new scientific report recently released highlights the critical importance of taking early action when implementing measures to reduce the climate impact of rapidly increasing emissions from aviation. T&E's response to the consultation is below.

European Parliament vote leaves biofuels up in the air

The European Parliament voted today to limit the expansion of land-based biofuels, but did not give the rapporteur of the file, MEP Corinne Lepage, a mandate to negotiate the agreement with the EU countries and the European Commission. This creates further uncertainty on the future of biofuels in Europe.

Why doesn’t the ethanol lobby join the fight for cleaner fuels?

I am pleasantly surprised that the ethanol lobby accuses NGOs of lying only three times, not four. Rob Vierhout of ePure says that NGOs were wrong about the impacts of biofuels on global hunger, land grabbing, and about the subsidies they receive.

Correction: New revised estimates of EU biofuels support in 2011

CORRECTION NOTE: On 23 August 2013, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), author of the study, corrected the estimates of the public support the EU biofuels industry received in 2011. The revised overall estimate for EU biofuels subsidies is now €5.5-6.9 (average 6.2) billion per year, and not €9.3-10.7 (average 10) billion per year, as originally published in April 2013. According to IISD, the revision is due to a calculation error on the volume of biofuels eligible for tax exemptions in certain countries. All other estimates remain the same, including those for the cost of consumption mandates which make up the largest type of public support. "The conclusions and recommendations presented in the original report also remain unchanged", IISD stated in its Addendum.

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