Aviation industry encouraged by ICAO progress on global carbon scheme negotiations but calls for higher emissions coverage
Thu 19 May 2016 – Aviation industry representatives attending last week’s High-level Meeting (HLM) on a global market-based measure (GMBM) at ICAO in Montreal say they were encouraged by the progress made during the talks. While difficult negotiations remained on a couple of key areas, said cross-industry Air Transport Action Group’s (ATAG) Executive Director Michael Gill, the meeting had demonstrated ICAO was the right place for the discussions. Prior to the meeting, aviation leaders issued a communiqué at a one-day conference in Montreal that asked for ICAO states to support the implementation of a global carbon offsetting scheme to complement other technology and operational initiatives to reduce the industry’s climate impact. The message was repeated yesterday at an international transport conference in Leipzig attended by 50 ministers of transport.
Speaking after the ICAO HLM, Gill said delegations had shown “impressive efforts” to consolidate the proposals contained in the draft Assembly Resolution text under discussion and come to an agreement.
“We are encouraged by all parties’ willingness to engage pragmatically in the negotiations,” he said. “There are large parts of the new working text which the aviation industry can support and which will provide a solid basis for the world’s first global market mechanism.
“However, we are also eager to ensure that the scheme covers a high level of global air traffic and would encourage governments to have this in mind as the negotiations continue. The industry is ready to play its role and we further encourage governments to deliver a deal with concrete parameters that allows us to start implementation from 2020.”
During the HLM, IATA presented a working paper with recommendations on key paragraphs in the draft text on the phased implementation criteria of the GMBM scheme (paragraph 7) and the formula for calculating the amount of CO2 emissions required by an aircraft operator in a given year from the scheme’s start in 2021 (paragraph 9). The paper points out the use of revenue tonne kilometres (RTKs) to determine the share of international aviation emissions as part of the phased implementation approach does not specify whether the share of aviation activities would be calculated using RTKs from Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders registered in each state – the method used by ICAO – or using RTKs from flights arriving and departing from each state.
IATA says the use of AOC-holders would significantly reduce the environmental effectiveness of the GMBM scheme on two counts. Firstly, from its own analysis, the AOC approach would reduce the share of CO2 emissions to be offset from 80% to 69% in Phase 1 (2021-2025) and in Phase 2 (from 2026) from 93% to 88%. Secondly, it suggests, AOC does not appear to be the optimum means for identifying accountable entities under the scheme. While aircraft operators engaged in commercial air transport must hold an AOC, it points out, there is no AOC requirement for non-commercial operators such as non-commercial business jet owners and other general aviation operations.
Until the preferred metric of the use of CO2 emissions becomes readily available, says the paper, “we therefore strongly suggest that the RTKs to determine the share of international aviation emissions under paragraph 7 be based on departing/arriving flights rather than AOC-holders.”
At the opening ministerial session of the International Transport Forum Summit yesterday, IATA Director General Tony Tyler said: “We came together in 2009 to launch the first climate goals for any global transport sector. We need your help this year with our mid-term goal to cap net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020. The industry is looking to government ministers in this room to support the ICAO work on developing a global offsetting scheme for international aviation.
“A well-designed global offsetting scheme will help us to balance our climate responsibilities with a pragmatic, simple and cost-effective international solution. As a sector, we take pride in our ability to collaborate. It is one of the ways in which we have grown such an enviable record in safety. On this issue too, we collaborate. Day-in, day-out at airports and airlines, air navigation service providers, makers of aircraft and engines and throughout the supply chain, our experts are working to make air travel even more efficient.
“In Montreal this September, we would like to collaborate with your governments as well, to help support a global offsetting scheme for air transport and to provide a clear path for our sector’s climate future.”
Today, the ITF Summit features a session on ‘Innovation for greening aviation’ with speakers including ATAG’s Michael Gill; Eurocontrol Director General Frank Brenner; ACI International Director General Angela Gittens; Jane Hupe, Deputy Director, Air Transport Bureau, ICAO; Michael Keenan, Deputy Minister of Transport, Canada; and Michel Wachenheim, Senior Adviser, Public Affairs, Airbus.
Meanwhile, a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting of G7 environment ministers held in Toyama, Japan, said that recognising the significance of projected growth of emissions from international aviation and shipping and although welcoming efforts by states through ICAO and IMO to reduce those emissions, called on member states “to implement effective measures without delay. In particular, we emphasise the importance of reaching an agreement on a global market-based measure at the 2016 Assembly in order to enable carbon neutral growth from 2020.”