Regional airline associations call on ICAO member states to press for a global sectoral approach to climate change
Tue 23 Mar 2010 – Regional airline associations from around the world have urged member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to agree a global framework for aviation that can be put forward to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 16 meeting in December. The associations – representing airlines from Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, as well as Europe and North America – reaffirmed their commitment to a global sectoral approach based on the short, medium and long term emissions reduction targets drawn up by the industry last year.
The call coincides with a meeting starting on Thursday (25 March) in Montreal of an informal group of representatives from 19 member states, with added observer representation from the industry (Air Transport Action Group - ATAG) and NGO (International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation - ICSA) lobbies, which will consider the climate issue ahead of the ICAO General Assembly in September and help prepare a submission to COP 16.
As the Directors General Climate Informal Group (DGCIG) – previously known as ‘Friends of the President’ – is an informal group it is unlikely that its work or deliberations will be made public, although it is understood a number of working groups are being formed, along the lines of the Group on International Aviation and Climate Change (GIACC) process which completed last year. However, ICAO says the DGCIG is not a successor to GIACC.
An ICAO spokesman told GreenAir Online: “The purpose of the DGCIG is to build upon the results of the High-level meeting held last fall, and is part of the overall consultative process leading up to the next session of the ICAO Assembly scheduled for 28 September to 8 October.”
Also taking place this week, in Beijing, is a scheduled meeting of the IATA Environment Committee and the Joint Task Force, which have a role in developing environmental policy and actions. It is believed various options are being considered on how a global sectoral approach for aviation might work in practice and it is thought that a ‘blueprint’ could be presented to the ICAO meeting before it concludes on Saturday.
The statement from the regional airline associations follows a meeting last week of their heads to discuss overlapping issues. It reads:
“We reaffirm our commitment to the industry-wide effort to reduce aviation’s climate change impact through three targets: a 1.5 percent improvement in fuel efficiency annually from 2010; a cap on net carbon emissions from 2020 through carbon-neutral growth; and a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, compared with 2005 levels.
“These targets remain the most appropriate tools for addressing aviation’s carbon emissions while allowing sustainable growth, which recognizes the industry’s vital contribution to economic and social development around the world.
“We urge the member states of ICAO at their upcoming triennial assembly to confirm and support ICAO’s position as the most appropriate forum for addressing aviation emissions issues. It is essential that they agree to a global framework for aviation, to be implemented by ICAO, for inclusion in discussions at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP16 in December.
“The industry has a plan for reducing emissions. It is appropriate, it is ambitious and it will allow us to continue to grow responsibly while keeping climate change in check. The aviation sector has shown unprecedented support for a single, united vision to reduce emissions. We are taking action to meet our targets. The world’s governments must now take up the challenge by moving forward with emissions-savings initiatives under their control, such as air traffic control modernization and in adopting a truly global approach to aviation and climate change through their representation at ICAO.”
It was signed by Abdul Wahab Teffaha, Secretary General of the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO); Andrew Herdman, Director General of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA); Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, Secretary General of the Association of European Airlines (AEA); Alex de Gunten, Executive Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Airline Association (ALTA); James C. May, President and CEO of the Air Transport Association of America (ATA); and Mike Ambrose, Director General of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA).
AAPA’s Andrew Herdman told GreenAir Online: “Following on from Copenhagen COP 15, where we were reminded of the difficulties in reconciling differing political views amongst nation states, and subsequent developments in both UNFCCC and ICAO, the intention of making a joint statement is to reiterate support across the industry for a global sectoral approach.
“Discussions are ongoing in various forums: involving airlines through the work of various IATA work groups as well as this joint meeting of associations held recently in Brussels; the wider aviation industry through the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG); and ICAO, including its DGCA Climate Group .
“In addition to work on developing action plans towards delivering on the published industry targets, clearly there is much more that needs to be done in developing a political consensus on a global approach to regulation on aviation and climate change, particularly in relation to the role of economic measures in the policy mix. We are hopeful that the upcoming ICAO 37th Assembly will be a timely opportunity to reach meaningful agreement and continue moving forward in addressing this important issue.
“We are encouraged that the positive role being played by the aviation industry in this process is increasingly widely recognized, and are committed to working together towards the long-term development and sustainable growth of the aviation industry.”
Note: This article was updated on 25 March to reflect the new name for the ICAO climate group and to add comments.