At its just-completed triennial general assembly, the International Civil Aviation Organization on October 4 reached agreement on a multilateral, global plan to reduce aviation’s impact on climate change. ICAO member states agreed to develop a market-based measure that would apply to aviation by 2020. ICAO will review governments’ plans and approve them at the next assembly in 2016.
The 36-country ICAO council will still have to flesh out the technical details of what such a programme would look like, including monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions.
“This is clearly an historic resolution, showing the leadership of both developed and developing country governments meeting at ICAO in driving to the first comprehensive agreement on climate change for any global sector,” said Paul Steele, Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group. “It represents significant progress. The aviation industry has been advocating for such a scheme since we developed the first global industry targets five years ago. We now have agreement on a global scheme and a timeline and the building blocks to deliver it.”
The ICAO decision — the first time a sectoral approach to limiting emissions has been agreed — came after the European Union suspended plans to include international flights in its own Emissions Trading Scheme. Other governments, as well as the aviation industry, preferred to operate from a global standard rather than under competing regional carbon regimes, and the European Parliament agreed as long as progress was made at ICAO.
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