India to summarily reject ICAO’s proposed market based measure for aviation CO2 emissions

ICAO is meant to be getting global agreement in October on some way to control the growth of the aviation sector’s emissions.  However, India – which has a relatively new and very fast growing aviation industry – is not willing to accept anything that might cost the industry money or slow its growth.  The purpose of some form of market based mechanism, agreed through ICAO, is for airlines to have to buy carbon permits to offset CO2 emissions above their level in 2020.  That works by the airlines having to spend money on the permits, with the likely effect of slowing growth.  Airlines are naturally not keen, which is why ICAO has made virtually zero progress on this over several decades.  Officials from India’s civil aviation ministry say Indian airlines are not willing to abide by the proposed “tax”. India as a country has pledged to reduce CO2 emissions, as committed at the UN Climate Change Agreement in Paris last December.  Carbon emissions from Indian aviation could double from their 2011 level by 2020, but India considers itself to be a “developing country” although in many respects it no longer is. ICAO proposes allowing developing countries special leeway with their carbon emissions, but this is intended for small countries that are far less rich – and with far less thriving aviation industries – than India.




India to summarily reject ICAO’s proposed carbon emission tax

25.8.2016 ( Infracircle – India )Print Friendly
As part of its strategy to counter the carbon emission tax proposed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’ aviation watchdog, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government will seek a formal response from the Indian carriers on the issue.

India expressed its disagreement to ICAO president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu during his visit to New Delhi earlier this month, according to a senior official from the [Indian] ministry of civil aviation who did not want to be named.

The official said the Indian government would reiterate its discomfort when the ICAO Council meets in Montreal, Canada, next month to address these carbon emission issues and would again point out that Indian carriers are not willing to abide by the proposed tax.

According to ICAO, the tax is meant to control emission in the aviation sector.  India has also pledged to reduce emissions, as committed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris last year.

Though the aviation sector was not included in the Paris agreement adopted by 195 countries in December 2015, all the member countries have been asked to take measures voluntarily as per their national climate action plans.

“We will explain our standpoint to the ICAO team and reiterate that neither the carriers, nor the government would agree to what has been proposed. We will also hold talks with the airlines and get to know their opinion formally. They have earlier expressed their displeasure regarding the tax,” the [Indian] official added.

The ICAO team will also audit India’s air safety and air worthiness in the next few months after it was downgraded by the US Federal Aviation Authority in January 2014 over safety oversight. The ban was only lifted 15 months later, in March 2015, after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) put in effective measures, as directed by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the ICAO.

Currently, 445 aircraft owned by commercial airlines are registered with DGCA. According to DGCA estimates, carbon emission could nearly double to 28 million tonne (MT) by 2020 from 16.33 MT in 2011, if efficient prevention methods are not adopted, especially when the aviation market is growing at a fast clip.

The official also explained that any additional tax on airlines will financially burden them as the sector’s operational costs are very high.

ICAO has been planning to cap the aviation sector’s emission by introducing a tax-based market mechanism, which is being opposed by developing countries.

Another [Indian] civil aviation ministry official, who also did not want to be named, pointed out that the country is moving towards expanding its air services through the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) and “any additional tax will only deter the airlines from taking part in our expansion plans like the RCS. This is one of the reasons we are opposing the carbon emission tax as well”.

Anil Madhav Dave, the minister of state for environment, forest and climate change, had already told the ICAO president about the government’s stand and added that the global market-based measures must take care of the interests of poor and developing countries, the second official said.

Experts support the Indian government’s stand on carbon emission.

Gurcharan Bhatura, an aviation expert and director general of Foundation for Aviation and Sustainable Tourism, said, “The government has taken a right call in the interest of the Indian airlines that are surviving on thin profit margins.”

“Any additional burden on airlines will only halt their expansion plans and that would not be good as the country is witnessing good growth in the sector,” added Bhatura, who had earlier been the airport director of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai while he worked for AAI.

Queries emailed to the spokespersons of the ministries of civil aviation, and environment, forest and climate change on 23 August remained unanswered.

The NDA government had stated earlier that the global market-based measures in the international civil aviation sector should follow the principles of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”, which would put the onus on developed and rich countries to cut emission on a priority basis as they have largely been the big polluters.

Apart from carbon dioxide, aircraft also emit nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, black carbon and water vapour which can form heat-trapping clouds.

In an email response to InfraCircle, Anthony Philbin, chief of communications at ICAO, said its member states proposed and are now considering the details of a global market-based measure to mitigate emissions from international air traffic. However, it won’t impact local/domestic airlines or traffic covered within the state commitments to the recent Paris Agreement.

“This is not an airline tax, but rather a means by which airlines will be obliged (depending on which state they are from and many other related factors) to offset their emissions through the purchase of offset credits,” he clarified.

The ICAO communications head added that the current negotiations will likely see that 2020 deadline moved further into the future for certain states, but those negotiations are still ongoing at the current meetings being held.

“By Friday (26 August) we will have a confirmed resolution on this matter, which will then be considered by the ICAO assembly in September. The full text of the resolution will be available on our website beginning next week,” he said.



India tells ICAO ‘no emissions tax for airlines’

India has told the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that the country will not agree to any move to impose a carbon emission tax on its airlines as part of plans to offset emissions in the aviation sector, saying the global market-based measures must “take care of interests of poor and developing countries”.

India’s environment minister Anil Madhav Dave told the visiting president of ICAO Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu: “The interests of poor and developing countries should be taken on board in the development of the global market-based measures.”

He said the global market-based measures in international civil aviation sector must follow the principles of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ (CBDR-RC). These principles mean rich nations bear the greater cost of emission cuts as they historically have been the biggest polluters.


World Bank to change classification of countries; India will now be called ‘lower-middle income’

31.5.2016 (Economic Times)

MUMBAI: For decades, ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ have served as agreeable economic nomenclatures to classify countries based on their prosperity and standards of living. That’s about to change, with the World Bank switching to more precise, though unvarnished, descriptions of economies.

And India — which till now found a place under the common umbrella with other ‘developing’ countries —will now be called ‘lower-middle income country/South Asia’.

The more specific definitions are aimed at categorising economies which though ‘developing’ in character, differ dramatically from one another. For instance, India, Mexico and Malawi may be hardly comparable even if a few economic and social parameters overlap.

With economies becoming less and less homogeneous, the multilateral agency will group countries based on geographical coverage and income levels to capture the changing world.In its annual edition of world development indicators (which was released a fortnight ago), the World Bank has no longer distinguished countries as developing and developed. Till now, developing stood for low-and middle-income countries while high-income countries were called ‘developed’.

Few, except developmental economists, bothered beyond it. But rising global prosperity coupled with growing inequality will now call for a sharper, less benign — and certainly less politically correct — nomenclatures. A fast changing world has made the earlier terms less relevant and not reflective of the heterogeneous sample of countries.

For instance, Mexico, China and Brazil are ‘upper-middle income’; India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are ‘lower-middle income’ (a categorisation that could irk not only New Delhi but most Indians); while ‘Malawi’ is, understandably, a notch lower at ‘low income’. So far, all were ‘developing countries’.

The bank’s logic: Malawi with per capita gross national income (GNI) of $250 can’t be in the same group as Mexico with per capita GNI of $9,860.

On measures like fertility and infant mortality rates — often considered proxies for a country’s overall well-being — the stark difference that once existed between developed and developing regions has narrowed.

In its publications and databases, the World Bank has already started phasing out the term ‘developing world’; instead, it’s focussing on the ‘sustainable development goals’ for the entire world.

……. and there is more ….

According to the World Bank data, India languishes on world indicators like labour force participation rate, electricity generation and access to improved sanitation facilities.

However, there is an improvement in certain aspects, such as under-five mortality rate and maternal deaths.

Time required to start a business in India was 29 days in June 2015 against the global average of 20 days.

In 2015, only 40% of Indians had access to improved sanitation facilities, against the world average of 68%.

The World Bank decision (to change the way countries are classified) may prompt the United Nations to follow suit. The international body has no formal definition of developing countries, but still uses the term for monitoring purposes and considers as many as 159 countries as developing.

…… and more details at