U.N. civil aviation group works to cut emissions
TORONTO — A landmark agreement aimed at getting the global airline sector to cut carbon emissions by 2020 was approved by the general assembly of the United Nations group that oversees civil aviation.
Delegates from 184 member countries of the International Civil Aviation Organization ratified the agreement on Friday.
The agreement, a framework for which details have yet to be worked out, authorizes the agency to develop a global mechanism over the next three years for ratification at the next general assembly in 2016 for implementation four years later.
Among other things, it may lead to taxing airlines for their greenhouse gas emissions.
Global aviation contributes less than 2 percent of all carbon emissions, but the ICAO wants a plan in place to contain greenhouse emissions as the industry continues to grow, especially in the developing world.
“I am very pleased that after long and hard negotiations, we finally have a global deal on aviation emissions. This is good news for the travelling public, good news for the aviation industry, but most importantly it is very good news for the planet,” said European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas.
ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez said the agreement is a historic milestone for air transport and for the role of multilateralism in addressing global climate challenges.
The agreement excludes a European Union proposal allowing it to apply its own cap-and-trade emissions scheme to foreign airlines until the global program takes effect.
Envoys gathered in Montreal declined to validate the EU's plan to include international airlines in the EU emissions trading system prior to the start of the global program.
Russia, Argentina and others rejected the 28-nation EU's offer to scale back the scope of its carbon curbs in exchange for a global commitment to reduce pollution.
“While we would have liked more countries to accept our regional scheme, progress was made overall,” Connie Hedegaard, the EU's Climate Change commissioner, said in a statement. “We will now factor this in when, together with the member states and the European Parliament, we decide on the way forward with the EU (Emission Trading Scheme).”
Unless rescinded, EU regulations would take effect in April and would require airlines using EU airports to pay an emissions charge.
Peter Liese, the European Parliament's rapporteur for the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emission Trading Scheme, called the resolution disappointing.
“Unfortunately, we have no guarantee that the system will be introduced in 2020 and that the benefit for the environment is substantial. There are too many ifs and buts,” he said.
Friday's agreement culminates ICAO's two-week general assembly meeting.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Take steps to make it harder for holiday hackers
- Stocks finish flat before Thanksgiving holiday; energy firms give back some gains
- Many Black Friday deals not worth the hassle
- Nutritional supplement makers, led by GNC, want to create voluntary safety standards
- Union leaders warn Post-Gazette newsroom of possible layoffs
- Covestro leader MacCleary finds stability amid change
- Improving economy challenges retailers seeking to boost ranks for holidays
- Black Friday loosens its hold on the holiday season
- Lenders taking more borrowers to court over student loans
- Feds upgrade GDP’s growth
- Coke had hand in shaping nonprofit health group, emails show