November 14, 2022
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The International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations body in charge of civil aviation, has reached an agreement in their triennial meeting regarding a market-based system to curb carbon emissions from airlines by 2020. This agreement was hammered out during two days of debates, talks and compromises during the meetings, and was finally ratified on October 4.
The ICAO Secretary General Raymond Benjamin remarked, “Aviation has indeed risen to the climate change challenge and has delivered a clear mandate to deliver a market-based measure by 2016 that is capable of being implemented in 2020.”
This resolution sets up the steps that the ICAO’s member states need to take between now and the next assembly in 2016. This includes developing a global MBM (market-based mechanism) for international aviation.
Not everyone in the ICAO was pleased with Friday’s agreement however. Europe wanted the ICAO to help shore up their ETS, which is paramount to their climate policy and requires all airlines using the European Union airports to pay for emissions. This plan was quickly shot down. By not agreeing to the EU’s plan, the European Union could reject the Montreal package. Doing so the EU would have to quickly endorse any extension of the European Commission’s decision to “stop the clock” on its own law in time for an April 2014 deadline.
The environmental community felt a bit “letdown” by Friday’s agreement. According to Bill Hemmings, program manager for aviation and shipping for the Brussels-based environmental group Transport & Environment, the agreement lacked the “guts” that the environmental community is looking for in the aviation industry. He also felt that even after all was said and done in the meetings, “much was said and not much was done.”
Still, the environmental community can look at the deal as a victory for at least negotiations didn’t stall and end without something in place. Where Aviation Emissions talks will go from here is anyone’s guess, but to be sure, talks will continue.