ICAO Passes Resolution to Limit Aviation Emissions

By Juliet Van Wagenen | October 6, 2016
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ICAO headquarters logo
ICAO headquarters. Photo: ICAO

[Avionics Magazine 10-06-2016] The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has reached a landmark agreement to curb CO2 emissions from international aviation. The Paris Agreement, which aims to limit emissions globally, will enter into force in November, following its ratification by the European Union (EU) in early October. However, it does not explicitly mention aviation and ICAO was tasked to address emissions in this sector.

On Oct. 6, the assembly of ICAO passed a resolution that will create a Global Market-Based Measure through which airlines will offset the growth of their CO2 emissions post-2020. It will contribute toward achieving the goals set in the Paris Agreement.

This is the first global agreement to address CO2 emissions in a specific sector of the economy. From 2021, flights between 65 states, including all EU countries, will be covered by a Global Market-Based Measure to offset CO2 emissions. Others will come on-board during the mandatory phase in 2027.

The agreement aims to offset about 80 percent of the emissions above 2020 levels between 2021 and 2035. It contains a strong review clause that will ensure that the EU is  regularly given the chance to improve the Global Market-Based Measure and make it more robust and ambitious, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. This deal is a decisive step toward the carbon neutral growth of aviation.

“This unprecedented agreement opens a new chapter in international aviation, where sustainability finally becomes part of the way we fly. Europe has been continuously advocating global and coordinated action to address the growth of aviation emissions, which was otherwise set to reach 300 percent by 2050. Today European solidarity and perseverance has delivered,” said European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc. “I hope that others will follow, particularly the shipping sector.”

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