COP21 President says growing emissions from aviation and shipping sectors must be tackled this year
COP21 President Laurent Fabius at the World Economic Forum
Fri 22 Jan 2016 – The President of the COP21 negotiations in Paris, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, told the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday that in the year ahead it would be necessary to work with UNFCCC Member States on international greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and maritime transport. He said the two “very important” sectors had been left out of the Paris Agreement “for many reasons” but their emissions were growing and it was “a real problem”. He reiterated the message during a debate in the European Parliament on the COP21 outcome in which German MEP Peter Liese, the Parliament’s rapporteur on the Aviation EU ETS, said he hoped credible EU legislation would be put in place if ICAO failed to agree to reduce emissions. Meanwhile, the Chinese government has announced aviation would be included in its national emissions trading scheme due to start in 2017.
The comments by Fabius, whose widely respected presidency extends until the next COP in November, were made in a panel discussion on climate and sustainable development in which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave a keynote address. Ban said all 17 sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations last year must go hand in hand with climate change. “The Paris Agreement will reinforce climate action and make an important contribution to realising the SDGs,” he said.
Fabius said there was much work to be done during 2016 on securing and clarifying aspects of the Paris Agreement, which will require ratification by enough States responsible for at least 55% of global emissions to enter into international law. A high-level UN climate summit is to take place in April in which world leaders have been invited to sign the agreement.
He told MEPs during the Parliament debate the preceding day that action and progress were needed at ICAO. “There will be difficult negotiations,” he said “but the Paris success story and the sense of urgency will give us momentum, so I hope we will get a result in this important area as well.”
Liese, from the centre-right EPP group, said a great deal had to be done on aviation and maritime, and the EU, particularly the Parliament, had wanted clear rules on the two sectors to emerge from Paris. He warned if ICAO did not come up with a way to achieve reductions in – not just stabilise – greenhouse gas emissions then intercontinental flights could be brought back into EU legislation, referring to the temporary reduction in scope of the Aviation EU ETS to just intra-European flights that expires at the end of this year.
“And this time we have to be credible,” he said. “It cannot be that many sectors have to implement drastic objectives when others are not covered.”
Social democrat Belgian MEP Kathleen Van Brempt said the combined emissions from aviation and shipping could be compared to those of both South Korea and Germany, and could rise by 270% by 2050. “We have to admit that we failed by not including them in the Agreement,” she said.
Meanwhile, China’s economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), has confirmed that aviation – to include civil air passenger and cargo transport, as well as airports – is to be one of eight industries to be included in the national emissions trading system (ETS) due to start in 2017. The NDRC has asked the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), industry associations and local authorities to report by the end of February which airlines and organisations should join the scheme.