A “high level group” of senior government officials from across the globe will meet this week to hammer out proposals for a global solution to tackle aviation emissions.

The group, set up by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in November last year, has been tasked with delivering a worldwide system, which will provide stringent controls on CO2.

In a three-day summit at ICAO’s Montréal headquarters, representatives from 17 countries, including US, UK, Russia, China, and France, will negotiate towards a global deal.

The group have until ICAO’s next assembly, which will also be held in Montréal, from September 24 to October 4 this year, to finalise a workable market-based measure “appropriate to international aviation”.

The system would be similar to the European Union’s (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which sees companies buy and sell carbon credits, based on their emissions.

Currently, airlines flying between EU countries must sign up to ETS, however, the European Commission “stopped the clock” for airlines flying into and out of Europe, after ICAO pledged to work towards a global solution in November last year.

The EU says it has been seeking a global agreement to tackle aviation emissions through ICAO for more than 15 years.

ICAO’s Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin, said: “ICAO’s states remain strongly engaged as they continue to review the feasibility of several market-based measure options for international aviation, on the basis of a wide range of environmental and economic criteria.

“We were tasked to report on this progress to our assembly this September and that remains the deadline we are working toward.”

If ICAO fails to reach an agreement on a new market-based system by September, then the EU will once again impose ETS on airlines flying into and out of Europe.

The EU has said that any ICAO global solution must deliver aviation emission reductions which are at least as significant as ETS currently does.

Any new system must also be non-discriminatory for all airlines and must contain targets and measures for ICAO member countries.

The 17 member states making up the high-level group are: Canada, USA, Russian, France, UK, Belgium, Nigeria, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mexico, China, India, Japan, Australia and Singapore.
AirportWorld, March 26, 2013