EU to call for international airline emissions to be included in the post-Kyoto climate framework

EU to call for international airline emissions to be included in the post-Kyoto climate framework | ICAO, ETS, UNFCCC, Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez

Fri 23 Jan 2009 – According to Reuters news agency, the European Union is to call next week for international airline and shipping emissions to be included in the successor to the Kyoto Protocol that is hoped to be agreed at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Copenhagen this coming December. At a conference of international transport ministers in Tokyo last week (see story), Roberto Kobeh González, the President of the Council of the UN civil aviation agency ICAO, told journalists that ICAO was pressing ahead with plans for an international cap-and-trade emissions scheme for aviation.

A draft document seen by Reuters lays out the European Commission’s stance in its preparation for the Copenhagen negotiations on reaching an international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions reductions to follow the Kyoto commitment period which ends in 2012. The document also spells out a requirement for a worldwide investment of €175 billion ($226bn) per year by 2020 in order to curb global emissions.

The draft says the UNFCCC should set targets for reducing shipping and aviation emissions below 2005 levels, with reductions to “far below” 1990 levels by 2050.

“Emissions from international aviation and maritime transport should be included in the overall targets set in the Copenhagen agreement and included in the national totals of the country of departure (or arrival),” says the document.

Whilst aviation is to join the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) from 2012, shipping has so far avoided being included, mainly due to the extra complexities involved. Like the aviation industry, shipping has been tasked through its UN agency – in this case the International Maritime Organization – with coming up with a global plan to tackle its international emissions and has similarly yet to reach an agreement on how to do so.

According to news reports, ICAO’s Roberto Kobeh González said last week that the inclusion of aviation into the EU ETS would not derail ICAO’s plans to build a framework that could underpin a global scheme. He said concerns by airlines over the EU ETS, both inside and outside Europe, could be addressed by developing a global scheme that would create a universal carbon pricing scheme under which the entire global industry would operate.

Kobeh González suggested that the development of a global aviation emissions trading scheme – which could form part of a post-Kyoto deal – would not necessarily exempt airlines from the EU scheme. Instead, he said, the EU ETS could be integrated into any UN-backed scheme and the inclusion of aviation into the EU ETS from 2012 meant the UN scheme would not have to “start from zero”.

An ICAO spokesman told GreenAir that regional initiatives should take into account global plans and, where applicable, be rolled into them, citing as an example future air navigation programmes like NextGen (US) and SESAR (Europe) supporting the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP). 

Reuters news report

POSTSCRIPT (January 27):
The European Commission draft report ‘Towards a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen’ mentioned in the article can be found at (pdf). The reference to international aviation and shipping is on page 7.



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