China, US and EU reported to have pledged to join the weak, voluntary, initial stages of ICAO scheme for CO2
China, Europe & US in historic accord on aviation emissions
China, Europe and the US have pledged to join the initial voluntary phases of the carbon-offsetting scheme designed to help international aviation achieve its goal of carbon-neutral growth after 2020.
On Sept. 3, the 44 member states of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) committed to being part of ICAO’s global market-based measure (MBM) scheme “from the start”.
On the same day, in a joint declaration ahead of the G20 economic summit in Hangzhou, the US and China said they “expect to be early participants” in the global MBM, also called the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA.
ICAO on Sept. 2 released a revised text http://fortune.com/2016/09/03/china-us-europe-aviation-emissions/of the resolution on the global MBM that will be presented for adoption by the ICAO Assembly in early October.
This makes participation voluntary in the pilot and first phases of the scheme, covering 2021-26. The MBM will become mandatory only in the second phase, covering 2027-35, with exemptions for countries with only a small share of international aviation activity.
ECAC members called on other major aviation states, “and those having the capacity to do so”, to commit to the global MBM, “and make their decision public before the end of the ICAO Assembly.”
India and Russia have previously voiced opposition to the global MBM.
Under the CORSIA scheme, carriers would offset additional carbon emissions from international growth beyond 2019-20 levels by buying credits from designation environmental projects.
Depending on the price of carbon, ICAO estimates the MBM will cost airlines 0.2-0.6% of total revenues from international flights in 2025. This will increase to 0.5-1.4% by 2035.
CAO has been working for more than a decade on aviation’s climate impact and it has set itself a final deadline of the end of 2016 for a deal. International aviation and shipping were not explicitly mentioned by the Paris agreement, leaving it unclear how their rapidly growing emissions were to be addressed. Aircraft are currently responsible for an estimated 5% of global warming. Without a change in the current projections, its emissions will increase by more than four times, to account for 22% of global emissions in 2050.
Revised text agreed for aviation carbon offset scheme
The latest text, released Sept. 2, is the result of extensive consultation with states on ICAO’s proposed global market-based measure (MBM), called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), culminating in an Aug. 16 meeting to develop a compromise text.
The new text calls for phased implementation of the MBM, beginning with a pilot phase in 2021-23 and first phases in 2024-26 in which participation will be voluntary.
The second phase in 2027-35 will be mandatory, with exemptions for nations with only a small share of international aviation activity as measured in revenue tonne kilometres flown in 2018.
“The new text includes some changes to the recommended MBM that impact the coverage of the system. Most significantly, it pushes back mandatory offsetting from 2021 to 2027,” the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT), an environmental non-government organization, said in an initial analysis of the new draft text.
“The text also allows for countries that volunteer to join these initial phases to subsequently opt out, provided they give at least six months’ notice,” ICCT noted.“How much post-2020 growth will need to be offset now depends upon which countries opt into the initial voluntary phases.”
ICCT has previously calculated the MBM will not offset enough emissions for aviation to achieve carbon-neutral growth.
In the proposed pilot phase, each participating state will be able to choose one of two ways to calculate carbon offsets for international flights by carriers registered in that country: operator emissions in a given year or in 2020 as a baseline. The MBM will be reviewed every three years beginning 2022.
The text proposes that offsetting for the pilot and first phases, from 2021-29, be 100% based on RTKs flown by the overall international civil aviation sector. For the first compliance cycle under the second phase of the MBM, in 2030-32, 20% of offsetting will be based on individual operator’s RTKs, increasing to 70% for the second cycle, in 2033-35.
“The MBM is a significant piece of ICAO’s strategy for mitigating carbon emissions from growth in the international civil aviation sector,” the organization said, noting that emissions from international civil aviation were not covered under the 2015 COP21 Paris Agreement to combat climate change.
“Since all scenarios will exempt some traffic growth, no version of the system under debate today is expected to be consistent with the aviation industry’s goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020,” ICCT said.
“There have been predictions that the final agreement will cover 80% of emissions,” the environmental organization noted. “If Russia joins India in opting out, then Chinese participation is likely required to cover 80% of activity growth, and also that level of emissions.”
China, US and Europe Pledge Support for Global Aviation Emissions Pact
SEPTEMBER 3, 2016,
China, the United States and Europe all pledged support on Saturday for a new deal to curb carbon dioxide emissions by airlines which is due to be finalized at a meeting of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in September and is expected to go into effect from 2021.
Aviation was excluded from last December’s climate accord in Paris when countries agreed to limit the global average rise in in temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
The proposed new deal on aviation, which aims to cap the carbon pollution of all international flights at 2020 levels will be voluntary between 2021 and 2026 and then mandatory from 2027 for the world’s largest emitters.
Airlines in participating countries would need to limit their emissions or offset them by buying carbon credits from designated environmental projects around the world.
ICAO has estimated that carbon offsetting will cost operators 0.2-0.6% of total revenue from international aviation beginning in 2025, and 0.5-1.4% from 2035.
“Today, the United States and China are expressing their support for the ICAO Assembly reaching consensus on such a measure,” the two countries said in a joint statement earlier on Saturday.
The statement, released ahead of a G20 summit in the Chinese coastal city of Hangzhou, said both countries “expect to be early participants in the measure and volunteer to join.”
In a separate statement, the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), a grouping of the EU and 16 other countries, said it would join the market-based plan from the outset and urged all other major airline operating states to do so.
Participation by China, which as a developing country has traditionally been opposed to any binding emissions regime for its industries, is considered crucial to any deal, and experts say they expect it to favor Chinese airlines at least in the initial phase.
“It is not an issue for China to sign up for the ICAO deal, as the mitigation actions are voluntary until 2026,” said Chai Qimin, a researcher with China’s National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC).
Chai said the deal could also favor China by giving it a lower share of all emissions that must be capped starting from 2020, but its participation would still depend on whether other countries could agree on terms.
China has been concerned that attempts to force its planes to buy carbon credits would represent a violation of the “common but differentiated responsibility” principle that says developed countries should take the lead in cutting emissions.
Negotiations are expected until the ICAO meets on Sept. 27.
“There are a lot of details that will determine the level of ambition,” said Li Shuo, climate adviser with Greenpeace.
While China had been more “progressive” when it came to the Montreal protocol and the phasing out of CFCs, it was showing fewer signs of movement on aviation, he said.
Annie Petsonk, international counsel at the Washington D.C.-based Environmental Defense Fund, said 80-90% of emissions above 2020 levels would need to be covered by the agreement for the civil aviation sector to hit a long-term target of carbon-neutral growth.
As an aviation powerhouse, China’s participation in the deal’s initial voluntary phases from 2021 to 2026 would likely be required to hit that 80 percent target, according to calculations by the non-profit International Council on Clean Transportation.
The council’s Dan Rutherford has said China’s absence from first phases “would definitely be a big hole in the coverage.”
On Thursday, the European Commission’s director-general for transport urged countries to join the deal.
“Our aim must be also to try to maximize the coverage and to try to have all the key aviation nations opting in,” said Henrik Hololei during an environment committee hearing.
China declined to cooperate with EU efforts to compel international airlines to buy carbon credits from its emissions trading scheme to cover flights into European airports, forcing the EU to suspend the plan.
European legislators also remain skeptical of the draft ICAO resolution, arguing it falls short of EU ambitions.
Some members of the EU parliament say the draft does not go far enough to justify extending the exemption for international flights from the EU’s own aviation emissions trading scheme beyond 2016.
The EU has to decide whether to continue exempting international flights by the end of the year.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China would not comment on China’s position, but Chai Haibo, vice-general secretary of the China Air Transport Industry Association, said the industry would support whatever decision the government made.
“Multinational negotiations under a government framework are more favorable, and we hope it will result in an acceptable deal to all parties,” he said.
The growth of low-cost carriers and emerging markets has driven increased demand, Boeing said.
MEPs shocked by ‘secretive’ and unacceptably unambitious ICAO plan to cut aviation CO2 emissions
A meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment has been told of the way a possible agreement by ICAO next month – on global aviation carbon emissions – has been watered down. MEPs were informed of the likely 6-year delay, with the scheme for a global market based mechanism (GMBM) not taking effect properly until 2027, rather than in 2021 that had been foreseen. Opt-in to the GMBM scheme before 2027 would be voluntary, but mandatory from 2027 through to 2035. There will be exemptions for poor nations, and even after 2027 the participation of the least developed countries and small island states would remain voluntary only. EU deputies said they were “shocked” to learn how many concessions the EU was prepared to make at the Montreal meeting, which took place in May behind closed doors. Then, to make matters yet worse, “a special review in 2032 will determine whether the mechanism will be continued,” taking into account progress made as part of a related “basket of measures” which includes “CO2 standards for aircraft”, technological improvements, air traffic management and alternative fuels. In a rare show of unity, Parliament representatives from across the political spectrum urged the EU to be more aggressive in the negotiation. Bas Eckhout, a Dutch MEP, said what is on offer now is not acceptable.
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.
ICAO agreement to get global aviation industry to limit CO2 may just be “voluntary” for years
ICAO is meeting in Montreal from 27th September to 7th October, with the intention of agreeing some mechanism globally to limit, or trade, aviation carbon emissions in future. However, aviation was not included in the Paris agreement, and ICAO has made little progress in getting airlines internationally to agree measures that would be effective. Aviation should contribute to the global ambition of limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees C (or 1.5 degrees C ideally) above pre-industrial levels. Now it appears that there may not even be a mandatory system, but just a voluntary one for the first 5 years for certain countries. This apparently is not yet meant to be public knowledge. Environmental groups said a voluntary first phase waters down a deal that already exempts too many countries, including most developing states, during its first five years. It will not achieve the ambition of making aviation making a fair contribution on the needed emissions reductions, especially if the largest carbon emitters do not join it. Airlines from countries that voluntarily participate would have to limit their emissions or offset them by buying carbon credits from designated environmental projects around the world.
Govt assumed in 2013, with Aviation Policy framework, we could add a runway, as there would be a strong global deal
Reminder. DfT’s Aviation Policy Framework (nearest thing we have to aviation policy) expected ICAO or EU ETS success. It said:
Reminder. Airports Commission final report said the UK might need to act if there was no effective measure by ICAO. It said: