Carbon agreement shows ICAO is playing its part in supporting global climate ambitions, Aliu tells COP22
Thu 10 Nov 2016 – ICAO is determined to continue to lead on all matters concerning international civil aviation and climate change, asserted ICAO Council President Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu (right) in a presentation to a plenary session of the UNFCCC’s COP22 meeting in Marrakech. Following the agreement last month by its Member States to adopt the CORSIA global carbon offsetting scheme, ICAO is promoting the success during the two-week climate talks, nearly a year after the previous COP reached its own Paris Agreement. During the first few days of COP22, which started on Monday, Aliu has provided inputs from ICAO to the UNFCCC’s SBSTA body, taken part in ICAO side events and bilateral meetings, and participated in a press briefing alongside UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. He told journalists ICAO States and industry faced “a lot of hard work” to ensure the scheme was ready to start in 2021 but ICAO was playing its part in supporting wider global climate ambitions and a long-term goal for the sector was under consideration.
Aliu told COP delegates CORSIA was the first global market-based measure to address CO2 emissions from an industry sector and States representing more than 86.5% of international air traffic had already volunteered to participate in the scheme from the earliest pilot phase. He said the consensus that had been achieved at the recent ICAO Assembly accommodated Member States’ different levels of socio-economic development and volumes of traffic.
The scheme would also complement ICAO’s ‘basket of measures’ for environmental protection, he added, which included a pursuit towards more innovative aircraft technologies, streamlined operational procedures and wider use of sustainable alternative fuels. International aviation was surpassing its aspirational goal for a recurring 2% annual fuel efficiency improvement, he told the plenary.
During his press briefing, Aliu said work on CORSIA was currently focused on developing a MRV system, determining the criteria for the emissions unit to be applied and establishing a registry.
“We have to get the rule-making developed within the next few years and our Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) completed. We also have provide guidance and support to our Member States through technical assistance and capacity building. We have in place our No Country Left Behind strategy, which although applying mainly to safety and security provisions, has also been expanded to include climate change and environmental issues.
“This is key for us. By 2027, with the exception of a few exemptions, all Member States will have to participate in CORSIA and this includes many developing countries. Even right now, a number of developing countries have said they will join the initial voluntary phases. A lot of support and training will be required to build this system between now and 2018. We are talking about this with our Member States, stakeholders, the World Bank and the UNFCCC to help us in this process.
“Our SARPs are mandatory and have to be applied equally to all countries, whether developed or developing.”
Glimpsing into the future and in the light of the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals, Aliu said: “Starting in 2022, we will be reviewing how CORSIA works and this will give us the opportunity to perhaps enhance our ambition. We are also working on the possibility of a long-term goal and once we have achieved a consensus, we will announce it to the global community.”
Espinosa described the CORSIA agreement as ambitious and an enormous success. “We welcome it and celebrate it,” she said.
“The actions being taken by the industry and ICAO of ever-increasing fuel efficiency and carbon-neutral growth starting in 2020 are critical. A principle of the Paris Agreement is that pledges to act must never go down, only up. We know the INDC pledges by countries do not get us to the Paris temperature goals but this principle of ever-rising ambition gives us the hope and expectation that it will happen. In ICAO’s case, we know the new MBM may not get aviation to its goal but ICAO’s roadmap leads us to expect more to come.
“We in the UNFCCC Secretariat are looking forward to partnering with ICAO to help ensure rapid implementation of CORSIA and obtaining good results.”