Aviation is a substantial and growing driver of climate change, currently responsible for almost 5% of global warming. The objectives of the Paris Agreement cannot be achieved without action to rein in its emissions growth. This T&E briefing outlines how, at its triennial assembly, ICAO has an opportunity to adopt a global market-based measure which can be a starting point for greater global ambition. However, negotiations dominated by the need to protect industry and favour historic emitters is weakening the prospect of a credible deal.
Despite being in need of reform, the EU’s aviation ETS is functioning, is being complied with, and has the potential to deliver real emissions reductions, a new analysis shows. Its key design features – emissions allowances instead of offsets, being binding instead of voluntary, and full instead of partial coverage of emissions – are all superior to the draft global deal under negotiation at the UN’s aviation agency ICAO. Europe is under pressure to dismantle its regional measure even though discussions on a global measure at ICAO remain fractious.
Last week’s deal reached at ICAO, the UN agency, to establish a global offsetting programme for aviation received a mixed response, yet it was heralded by industry and some policymakers as the dawn of sustainable aviation.
Today’s decision to offset but not reduce CO2 emissions from aircraft, and on a voluntary basis, is a weak start which must be followed with more effective measures by states to rein in aviation emissions, Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. The deal’s coverage of emissions falls well short of the ‘carbon neutral growth in 2020’ target promised by UN aviation body ICAO and industry, and the lack of clear rules for offsets presents a clear risk to the measure’s environmental effectiveness.
ICAO is about to proclaim mission accomplished in its 20-year search to appear relevant in the fight against aviation climate change. An impressive list of ministers and notables has gathered in the organisation’s Montreal headquarters to help break out the champagne. Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, leading the EU delegation, summed up the aim: “To defend the deal on the table as the lowest common denominator, that is our target.”
National governments meeting in Montreal are nearing a deal to offset but not reduce carbon emissions from aircraft on a voluntary basis. Agreement at the UN’s aviation body ICAO is likely to be met with scepticism in Europe where in 2013 the EU agreed to roll back coverage of its emissions trading system from flights into and out of Europe. Ostensibly this was to give ICAO time to come up with something better.
The aviation sector could be doing twice as much to reduce the fuel consumption of planes than is currently expected. That’s the finding of a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) which says new aircraft could be consuming 25% less than they do now within eight years and 40% less in 18 years.
After nearly 20 years of international negotiations, 191 countries are positioned to adopt a global market-based measure (GMBM) to address emissions growth from international aviation during a two-week aviation summit in Montreal from 27 September to 7 October, 2016.
After 3 years of work, ICAO is due to agree a global climate deal for international aviation at its triennial assembly Sept 27 - Oct 7th. The outcome will be closely watched to see if the sector can take action to limit is considerable and growing climate impact.Transport & Environment and Carbon Market Watch, with the support of WWF European Policy Office and AEF, organise a post-assembly lunch event to consider the outcome of the assembly and its implications for European climate and aviation policy. The event will present expert analysis of any agreement and discuss what are the next steps, in particular implications for the EU Emission Trading System.Please register here.