No agreement on aviation emissions at COP17

No agreement was reached on how to deal with carbon dioxide emissions from aviation and shipping at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that concluded Sunday in Durban, South Africa.

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17), which ran from Nov. 28-Dec. 9, discussed progress on key issues dealing with climate change—including extending the Koyoto Protocol—but failed to reach an agreement on a global sectoral approach for aviation CO2 emissions (ATW Daily News, Dec. 9).

According to an Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) spokesman, “After a number of days of tough negotiations on aviation, there was still no decision on some of the key aspects of common but differentiated responsibilities and how they relate to aviation and shipping, and the ability for countries’ negotiation under the UNFCCC to tell negotiators at ICAO what to do.”

In the final text issued at COP17, it was briefly stated that the parties agreed to continue “consideration of issues related to addressing emissions from international aviation and maritime transport.”

ATAG Executive Director Paul Steele (ATW Daily News, May 16), who also serves as IATA’s top official on environmental issues, said that “while it seems as if significant progress has been made in the broader climate agreement, with an extension to the Kyoto Protocol and a roadmap for a future legally binding agreement, there was yet again no progress at the UNFCCC on getting a global sectoral approach for aviation emissions.”

He added, “Positively for the industry there is agreement amongst nearly all countries that ICAO is the most appropriate place to deal with aviation emissions. The industry will continue to engage with ICAO to ensure that an ambitious work program can deliver an outcome on aviation emissions by the next ICAO Assembly in 2013. The tough nature of the negotiations under UNFCCC really places pressure on those same governments to deliver something meaningful at ICAO. ”