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ICAO Grounds Aviation GHG Plan

airplaneThe UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council failed to adopt a global, market-based measure to reduce carbon emissions from international aviation.

Instead, the ICAO yesterday agreed to “have tools in place” by 2016 to develop a market-based measure and come up with a global aviation carbon management plan beginning in 2020, Bloomberg reports. Until a global system is put in place, countries’ existing emissions trading system may cover airlines in regional airspace, according to the deal.

The World Wildlife Fund called the ICAO’s action “another missed opportunity” and criticized the council for “grounding hopes for a market-based solution,” despite support from industry and environmental groups.

In June, a trade group representing 85 percent of the world’s airline traffic, the International Air Transport Association, adopted a resolution calling for a market-based measure to manage and offset emissions. That resolution proposed that airlines offset increased emissions after 2020 by buying carbon credits from other sectors.

The ICAO’s decision also disappointed the European Union, which had hoped for stronger emissions regulations. The EU tried to include international flights in its carbon market last year. Some 26 countries, including the US and China, lodged a formal complaint through the ICAO about the EU’s rules and in November the European Commission suspended its carbon emissions laws on flights taking off or landing from EU member states.

Jos Delbeke, director general for climate at the European Commission, yesterday said the EU will only require airlines to purchase allowances to cover emissions in its airspace, as opposed to all flights in and out of EU airports, Bloomberg reports.

The full ICAO is expected to approve the council’s action at its general assembly Sept. 24 to Oct. 4 in Montreal.

In July, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Environmental Defense Fund published an analysis that found the aviation industry could achieve its goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 by tapping into the available supply of carbon credits at a cost to the industry as low as $4 per metric ton of CO2.

Photo Credit: Kuster and Wildhaber Photography via Flickr



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