Aviation’s carbon emissions plan on track – ICAO

An agreement on emissions should be reached at the 39th ICAO Assembly this September
An agreement on emissions should be reached at the 39th ICAO Assembly this September

Plans to measure and reduce the aviation industry’s carbon emissions remain on track, and a global consensus is expected to be reached this year, the UN’s aviation body has said.

Speaking at the recent IATA AGM in Dublin, Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, president of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), said that “political will exists” for the establishment of a carbon emissions strategy, and that a global strategy should be adopted at the 39th ICAO Assembly this September.

“With respect to our shared objectives on aviation’s environmental performance, our common goal is to respond to the needs of civil society for safe and environmentally sustainable air travel, now and for the coming generations,” Dr Aliu told the assembled airline CEOs in Dublin. “We continue to make progress on all elements in our basket of measures to reduce aviation emissions and their impact on climate change.

“I still firmly believe that the political will exists to realise a global market-based measure (MBM) solution at our 39th Assembly to complement these measures.”

Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu
Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu

In addition to agreeing to the proposed Carbon Offsetting & Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), the ICAO Assembly is also expected to agree on the work required by ICAO, governments and the industry in order for the scheme to be fully operational by 2020.

“ICAO’s member states have agreed to continue their consultations over the summer, in order to seek greater consensus and ensure the adoption of the global MBM Resolution at the assembly,” Dr Aliu said.

“As always, our sector has relied on its historic strengths – cooperation and consensus – to reach this point, and we will need to preserve our highest respect for those values in the months ahead if we are to avoid an acrimonious and inefficient patchwork of local emissions regimes.”

The development of a global solution for airline emissions has been long-term goal of ICAO, but failure to achieve a consensus could potentially lead to individual regions – most notably the European Union – imposing their own unilateral measures. The previously proposed EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) was vehemently opposed by many countries, including China, India, Russia and the US.

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