Pressure grows for aviation and shipping to be given specified climate target

July 15, 2009

Two leading world governments have said aviation and shipping should be given their own greenhouse gas reduction targets at December’s Copenhagen climate summit. The calls from Australian and Great Britain are effectively an attempt to by-pass Icao and the IMO in post-Kyoto climate efforts.

The more significant call came from Australia last month. It said the Copenhagen summit should take charge of the aviation and shipping sectors and set targets with a view to agreeing new treaties for each sector by 2011. Earlier this month, the British government presented its ‘Road to Copenhagen’ manifesto, which calls for the climatic impact of international aviation and shipping to be included at the summit in the form of ‘an international agreement to manage aviation and shipping
emissions collectively’.

T&E policy officer Bill Hemmings described the Australian statement as ‘measured’ but said it was a clear criticism of the lack of action taken by the
International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) and the International Maritime Organisation
(IMO). ‘Reading between the lines, the Australian government is saying the industry-dominated Icao and IMO have manifestly failed to deliver
progress in the last 12 years and it’s now time for environment ministers to take over.’

Greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and shipping were left out of the 1997 Kyoto protocol, with responsibility handed to Icao and the IMO.
But Icao has ruled out all options except limited emissions trading, while the IMO has produced reports but no action. The EU has taken unilateral
action by agreeing to include aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012, but despite many threats is hesitating on shipping.