ICAO and aviation emissions: The clock is ticking

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 market
measure 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.

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What's next?

By 04 October, ICAO’s triennial Assembly needs to agree a global market-based measure and the Framework for States and regions to implement their own schemes until a global measure comes into effect. Failure to act at the Assembly would trigger automatic reinstatement of the full provisions of the EU ETS and confirm ICAO’s status as having failed on climate change.