Aviation industry urges governments to get behind global carbon scheme as GLADs get underway in Cairo
Sun 20 Mar 2016 – As officials from around the world gather to study ICAO proposals for a global market-based measure (GMBM) for international aviation, the air transport industry urged governments to get behind a mandatory carbon offsetting scheme. ICAO is holding five regional workshops, called Global Aviation Dialogues (GLADs), over the next three weeks, starting in Cairo today. The GMBM is aimed at ensuring the growth of international aviation CO2 emissions is neutralised from 2020 (CNG2020) through the purchase of carbon offsets by the industry of emissions that cannot be mitigated through other means. Carbon-neutral growth is one of the goals agreed by the industry in 2009, which also include a 1.5% annual overall improvement in a fuel efficiency to 2020 and a 50% reduction in net emissions by 2050 based on 2005 levels.
“The development of a global carbon offsetting scheme for aviation is crucial if aviation is to meet its climate obligations, whilst also continuing to meet the economic and connectivity growth desired by many countries around the world,” said Michael Gill, Executive Director of the industry coalition Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). “The successful Paris Agreement on climate change provided positive momentum for discussions at ICAO, which already has its own mandate and well-established programme for addressing aviation and climate change.”
A High-level Group (HLG) of senior representatives from 18 ICAO States is currently trying to find a balance between environmental and political acceptability and the GLADs outreach workshops will allow other States not directly participating to understand and provide comments on the text of a draft Assembly resolution just released outlining the proposed scheme (see article). The HLG is chaired by former ICAO President, Roberto Kobeh González, and will meet shortly after the GLADs have finished to hear feedback.
“The draft proposal delivers much-needed impetus to the discussions,” said Gill. “Although negotiations between governments will continue over the details of the agreement, this draft is a significant and welcome step. We urge governments to keep in mind the principles of simplicity, environmental integrity, cost-effectiveness and the need to avoid market distortion as they shape the agreement. Whilst we understand the political sensitivities of these talks, the industry would like to see an agreement with broad coverage of aviation emissions.”
Gill noted this was the first time any sector had attempted a global market-based measure and the industry was fully supporting the discussions. “We urge all governments to come together, find solutions to the remaining negotiating points and look forward to a positive outcome at the Assembly,” he said. “A global carbon offsetting scheme is a key element of a comprehensive package of measures to address aviation’s climate impact.”
States will have a further opportunity to study any revisions to the draft agreement and reach a consensus on the scheme before the Assembly at a special three-day High-level Meeting (HLM) being held at ICAO HQ in Montreal starting on May 11. It will be preceded on May 10 by a one-day Global Sustainable Aviation Forum organised by ATAG.