UN aviation body ‘foot dragging’ on global CO2 emissions deal

The UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council has been "condemned" for failing to adopt a global measure to reduce carbon emissions from international aviation.

Earlier this week, the ICAO delayed the adoption of a global approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation industry.

Although the EU has said the decision is a sign of progression, many green groups have criticised the ICAO’s decision to delay implementation of a single global market based measure (MBM) for aviation till 2020.

Tasked with tackling aviation emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, the UN body is now under pressure to agree a deal at the ICAO General Assembly later this month.

Commenting on the decision yesterday, EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard tweeted: “Finally. Not perfect but progress within reach on a global MBM to curb emissions from #aviation. Still work to be done before #ICAO Assembly”.

However, green groups have labelled the council’s decision as ‘inexcusable’, particularly because they have been calling on the ICAO to agree on a global approach for several years.

According to WWF, the ICAO has made “virtually no progress” over the last 16 years to agree a global deal on aviation emissions.

WWF-UK transport policy manager, Jean Leston, said: “If there was a competition for foot dragging, ICAO would have won it a long time ago. The world has waited 16 long years for ICAO to decide how it is going to reduce aviation emissions.

“If [this] disappointing Council meeting is anything to go by, we’ll be waiting forever. It’s now down to Assembly members to make sure that ICAO delivers on its promise to seal the deal at the forthcoming 38th Assembly.”

Contributing nearly 5% of the global warming effect the planet experiences, carbon emissions from aviation are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.

Putting the industry’s impact in context, WWF claims that if “aviation were a country”, it would be the 7th largest contributor to climate change on the planet.

ICAO experts estimate that, if unchecked, emissions will increase by 70% in the next 7 years and by between 300-700% by 2050.

Leigh Stringer

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