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European Parliament increases pressure on ICAO to agree a global aviation emissions deal

The European Parliament today voted to confirm the Commission’s proposal to suspend for one year the inclusion of flights to and from Europe in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). The Parliament’s decision stressed that the EU’s emissions clock will start again if the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) does not manage to agree on a global deal to curb international aviation emissions at its triennial Assembly next September.

NGO presentation to ICAO's High Level Group on Climate Change

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The High Level Group (HGCC) established by ICAO last November to resolve political questions preventing agreement on a global Market-Based-Measure met for the third time in March. It was an important meeting as the first two were quite underwhelming and in some aspects went backwards. Time is running out for ICAO to have any chance of reaching substantive agreement at its forthcoming triennial Assembly next September.ICSA – the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation – representing environmental NGOs in the ICAO process, submitted a paper to HGCC3 and made a presentation to the group yesterday setting out the emissions gap between ICAO current plans and what is needed to meet the 2 degrees maximum global warming and urging agreement on a global MBM and an MBM Framework this year. Presentation and position paper attached.

Only a global pricing measure can keep aviation carbon-neutral, says scientist

A study by one of the world’s leading climate scientists says only a global market-based measure, such as a tradable price for CO2 emissions, will keep the growth of aviation carbon-neutral. The finding contradicts the line given by opponents of the EU’s plans for aviation emissions trading, and comes at a critical time in international efforts to tackle the climatic impacts of air transport. In a separate development, MEPs and Member States have sent a signal to international negotiators that the EU’s gesture to delay the enforcement of emissions trading is limited to one year, and time is running out.

The urgency of concerted global action to tackle emissions from international aviation

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New research by the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) highlights both the urgent need for concerted global action to address international aviation emissions and underlines the fact that all current and foreseen emissions reductions measures being promoted by industry and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will fall well short of those needed to prevent dangerous global warming.

Global emissions trading essential to close aviation’s emissions gap in 2050 - study

A new study published today by leading atmospheric scientist Professor David Lee of Manchester Metropolitan University shows that only the adoption of a global ‘market-based measure’ can bring the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) and aviation industry’s shared goal of 2020 ‘carbon neutral growth’ by 2050 within reach. The total impact of all other CO2 reduction measures currently on the table is shown to be insufficient.

Environment Committee confirms the need for global aviation emissions deal

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted today for a one-year ‘stop the clock’ derogation from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) for flights to and from Europe. Environmental NGOs Transport & Environment (T&E), WWF, Germanwatch and Brot für die Welt think the ‘stop the clock’ concession is bigger than necessary given the limited progress made in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The clock has stopped but time is running out for ICAO

The clock may have been stopped for a year, but time is still passing. ‘Stopping the clock’ was a big gesture from the EU. With the world saying it was the EU’s decision to include aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that was preventing global action to tackle aircraft’s contribution to climate change, the EU said ‘OK, we’ll suspend our action for a year to create the chance for a global agreement.’ Yet so far, little progress has been made and the blame heaped on the EU’s ETS looks more and more like the empty excuse we always thought it was.

Airlines charging passengers for ‘costs’ they don’t have to pay

Airlines are making  so-called ‘windfall profits’ of up to €1.3bn by charging passengers for permits to pollute which they are no longer obliged to hand over to European countries. That is the main conclusion of a study by the Dutch consultancy CE Delft carried out for T&E. T&E, in a statement, called for airlines not to retain these windfall profits - which would, they say, be a betrayal of passengers’ contributions to fight climate change. Instead, the campaign group called for any such profits to fund developing countries’ efforts to deal with the effects of climate change.

ICAO and aviation emissions: The clock is ticking

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In 1997 the parties to the Kyoto Protocol agreed that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international aviation should be ‘limited’ or ‘reduced’ working through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a UN agency responsible for setting international standards for civil aviation. Since Kyoto, ICAO has failed to deliver or agree any mandatory global policies to mitigate emissions. The Organisation closed the door, one by one, on almost every conceivable marketmeasure for reducing aviation’s emissions and now, under pressure to act, is deeply divided over adopting a global solution.The following timeline shows the sluggish progress made in the ICAO, while CO2 emissions from aviation have been growing 4.3% on average per year between 1999 and 2009 and today aviation alone accounts for 4.9% of the cumulative climate change impact of human activities.

Airlines' Billion-Dollar Bonanza Underscores Need for Real Climate Action

This blogpost was originally published by the Huffington Post. It was co-authored by Bill Hemmings, Programme Manager for Aviation with Transport and Environment and Vera Pardee, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute. 

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