[mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]Europe has long recognised the need to combat the environmental threat posed by the rapidly-expanding aviation industry. So far the sector has escaped any moves to reduce the emissions that cause global warming. The latest U.S.-inspired initiative would block such action by forcing ICAO member states to agree a Resolution preventing the introduction of charges. The ICAO Resolution is due to be finalised at the organisation’s Assembly in Montreal in early October.
Jos Dings, Director of T&E said, “We are encouraged that the EU Parliament has recognised the danger of the ICAO Resolution. It is vital that European states retain the right to deal with aviation – a major source of global warming.”
“The U.S. is attempting to hijack ICAO to dictate policy to states that want to tackle aviation’s impact on climate. Europe must now send a clear signal that it will not be bound by such a Resolution”.
Significantly, the Parliament’s decision came just two days after British Prime Minister Tony Blair called for aviation to be included in the forthcoming European Emissions Trading System. According to Dings, “The ICAO resolution would make Mr Blair’s plan virtually impossible.”
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The full text of the European Parliament’s ‘Compromise Motion for a Resolution’ on the ICAO Assembly can be downloaded here.
Notes for editors
The European Federation for Transport and environment is Europe’s principal umbrella organisation for non-governmental organisations working for sustainable transport policies. T&E works at the European level to ensure that transport is environmentally responsible, economically sound and socially just. At present, T&E has some 40 member-organisations from 20 countries.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is the specialised UN body for aviation policy. It currently has 188 ‘Contracting States’. Its 35th Assembly (generally held every three years) is scheduled to take place between 28th September and 8th October 2004 at ICAO’s headquarters in Montreal.
Aviation and the environment
Aviation is the fastest growing and an important source of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it accounted for 3.5 per cent of man-induced global warming in 1992. The current and future figures are likely to be much higher, given the 40 percent increase in kerosene consumption since 1992 and the expected ongoing growth, despite recent events.
The EU and the aviation sector
The European Commission’s Communication on Air Transport and the Environment in 1999 highlighted the growing environmental impact of the aviation sector, and recognised that technology alone would be unable to offset the problem. Since then it has commissioned studies on the feasibility of kerosene taxation and of an en-route emissions charge for greenhouse gases and is currently looking at how aviation might be included in the European Emissions Trading Scheme.
Although emissions from international aviation are excluded from the Kyoto Protocol, Article 2.2 calls on states to pursue the limitation and reduction of these emissions through ICAO. Since 1998, ICAO has been studying the potential role for economic instruments in this field. The current ICAO Resolution text reflects the difficulties of achieving meaningful results within ICAO.