Fri 20 Sept 2013 – Ahead of the 38th ICAO Assembly starting on Tuesday, the aviation industry has urged ICAO member states to set aside their differences on a controversial global market-based measure (MBM) and take bold decisions on mitigating the growth of aviation carbon emissions. In a joint paper submitted to the Assembly by trade bodies representing airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, aerospace manufacturers and business aviation, they call for action by governments to support the industry’s own efforts in reducing the climate impact of the sector. Primarily, the industry is looking for a firm commitment at this Assembly towards an agreement at the following Assembly in 2016 on implementing a single global MBM from 2020, which would be in line with the sector’s own carbon-neutral growth (CNG2020) target.
“The ICAO Assembly is a real opportunity to demonstrate progress on tackling aviation CO2 emissions,” said Paul Steele, Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), a coalition of organisations and companies committed to the sustainable development of the sector.
“While the industry continues to make significant progress in reducing its emissions through technological, operational and infrastructure improvement, we can only do so much. Governments now need to play their part by agreeing a package of actions, including a global market-based measure, to help reduce emissions even further. We strongly urge governments meeting at ICAO to use the next two weeks to settle differences and show climate change leadership.”
In a coordinated working paper submitted for consideration by the Assembly, the sector “invites” governments to agree both a roadmap for development of a single global MBM for aviation to be implemented from 2020 that can be adopted at ICAO’s 39th Assembly in 2016 and also principles for the development of a global MBM.
The paper also asks ICAO to develop before implementation several milestones to help build the foundation for a single global MBM, including an ICAO standard for monitoring, reporting and verifying aviation emissions, plus a mechanism to define the quality of verified offset types that could be used in a global MBM. Of the three policy mechanisms under consideration at ICAO for a global MBM – carbon offsetting, carbon offsetting with a revenue generating component and an emissions trading scheme – the industry makes clear in the paper that a simple carbon offsetting scheme would be the quickest to implement, the easiest to administer and the most cost-efficient.
The industry has two major concerns with the draft resolution due to be considered by the Assembly, scheduled to take place on Thursday 26th. Firstly, it fears that if a decision on a global MBM is not forthcoming in 2016, there will not be enough time to have a unique and complex international carbon scheme in place by 2020. The industry would like to see firmer wording in the resolution’s text.
Secondly, it is unhappy that the draft resolution permits States or regions to implement their own schemes – with emissions restricted to airspace coverage only – without seeking consent from third countries until a global scheme comes about. This essentially allows for a compromise between ICAO States and the EU over its emissions trading scheme, which has caused much friction, and will enable the EU, once again but this time with ICAO backing, to extend the reach of the current, post-stop-the-clock intra-EU coverage, to include all flights landing or departing European airports. The industry, though, does not want any MBMs implemented before a global scheme comes into force.
“National or regional schemes are politically charged distractions and we must not allow such discussions to get in the way of important progress that needs to be made,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General.
Added ATAG’s Paul Steele: “We are encouraged that this draft resolution could provide a meaningful way forward for discussions and clearly supports the need for a global market-based measure. The governments meeting at ICAO need to remain focused on moving this global scheme forward. It will ensure environmental integrity because all emissions from the sector will be covered. To get further sidelined by national and regional approaches, which will result in a patchwork of measures around the world, would not be a smart solution. It would be bad for the industry, complicated for governments and not deliver the environmental benefits required. A global industry needs a global approach.
“It should not be ignored how significant it is for a global industry to be asking to be regulated in this way. From the start, we have taken a pragmatic and responsible approach, understanding political realities. Now it is time for governments around the world to work with us and with civil society to achieve this goal.”
ATAG – Full statement on ICAO Assembly including comments from other aviation industry trade associations
Industry Working Paper submitted to 38th ICAO Assembly (A38-WP/068)
ICAO 38th Assembly climate change draft resolution (A38-WP/034)
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