Fri 4 Dec 2015 – ICAO has announced the adoption of the first aviation-related UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) methodology that will quantify CO2 reductions from the use of electric taxiing systems for aircraft. This is the first of three methodologies the UNFCCC Executive Board that oversees the CDM agreed earlier this year to develop, the other two relating to solar power for at-gate aircraft and aircraft engine washing projects (see article). The CDM allows emission reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits – each equivalent to one tonne of CO2 – that can be traded and used by industrialised countries to help meet their UN climate reduction targets. Under the Kyoto climate treaty, projects to reduce emissions from domestic flights and at airports in developing countries are already eligible to be included in the CDM but international flights are not.
In order to ensure the environmental integrity of the CDM, methodologies are required to establish a project’s emissions baseline, or expected emissions without the project, and to monitor the actual ongoing emissions once a project is implemented. The difference between the baseline and the actual emissions determines what a project is eligible to earn in the form of credits. Once developed, a new emissions baseline and monitoring methodology can be used by projects in the aviation sector to quantify their emissions reductions and earn saleable credits for those reductions.
“ICAO has worked very closely and diligently with our colleagues in the UNFCCC secretariat, and we are grateful for this very positive decision by the CDM Executive Board at its 87th Meeting,” commented ICAO Secretary General Dr Fang Liu. “The approved methodology represents an important first step in allowing credits to be generated by aviation emission reduction initiatives, and will eventually help to realise a more environmentally sustainable air transport sector globally.”
The ICAO and UNFCCC secretariats are currently cooperating in the development of a methodology covering the supply and use of solar power for aircraft operations at airport arrival and departure gates
Although ICAO’s mandate is limited to addressing emissions from international aviation, it says significant growth in emissions from domestic aviation activities is expected as developing markets mature, so highlighting the importance of measures to mitigate these emissions through the CDM.
The UNFCCC secretariat’s Director Sustainable Development Mechanisms, John Kilani, said: “Aviation holds considerable untapped potential for emission reductions through CDM projects and we’re excited to bring this important message to COP21.”
On Wednesday (Dec 2) at COP21 in Paris, ICAO Council President Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu addressed a plenary session of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). He told delegates: “While international aviation accounts for 1.3% of global man-made CO2 emissions, ICAO Member States and the aviation industry continue to take concrete actions to reduce emissions from international aviation. These include more efficient air traffic management and other operational improvements, the use of fuel-efficient aircraft technologies, and the deployment of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation.”
UNFCCC – CDM
ICAO – Environmental Protection
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