Thu 29 Sept 2016 – On the first full day of discussions at the ICAO Assembly on the CORSIA global carbon scheme, reports suggest the great majority of government representatives have backed the draft resolution almost in its entirety. Interventions by countries from both the developed and developing world queued up to endorse the resolution and called for its adoption. However, the BRIC States – Brazil, Russian Federation, India and China – expressed their concerns over the scheme and even called into question the carbon-neutral growth goal from 2020. Although Brazil and India had already signalled their intention not to join the voluntary phases, with Russia a long-standing opponent of market-based measures, China has been expected to join. The Executive Committee, which is handling the discussions, will now meet in the morning to wrap up proceedings and report to a plenary session next week. Optimism is high an agreement can be reached, with or without the BRICs.
Although it is too early to write off its participation, the loss of China from the start of the scheme would though be a major blow. It has the highest share of international aviation activity of any country, including the United States, with an 11.8% share of international revenue tonne kilometres. China's RTKs also include those from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. The 62 countries, which includes China, that are listed on the ICAO website as having indicated they would participate from the start account for 83.8% of the global total. The loss would be even greater as it would mean the emissions from all flights to and from the country, regardless of where the airline is registered, would be excluded from the scheme.
Consultations are expected to take place overnight with those States that are unhappy with the text and the Chairman of the Committee is due to report back tomorrow.
During the meeting, Papua New Guinea became the 63rd country to volunteer to participate in the scheme from the start. It joins other volunteers from the developing world that have waived their right to be excluded, such as the Marshall Islands. "As one of the most vulnerable countries in the world, it's critical for the survival of my nation," said the representative from the Marshall Islands when supporting the resolution. "If we can do it, so can you," he told other delegates.
Update Fri 30 Sept 2016:
The GMBM resolution is now listed as the last item on the Committee’s agenda for today and so not a great deal is expected to take place at the meeting, if anything. Discussions on possible amendments to the CORSIA proposal are likely therefore to take place on Monday, with behind-the-scenes negotiations on the text going on in the meantime.
The Marshall Islands has released this statement following yesterday’s meeting.
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