IATA pressures ICAO to deliver global emissions framework

Geneva
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IATA insists that ICAO's upcoming 37th Assembly must adopt a global framework for reducing emissions from aviation which can then be endorsed by the United Nations this year if the industry is to meet targets.

Secretary general Giovanni Bisnignani, speaking today at the Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva, stressed the importance for ICAO to "deliver an inclusive solution" to address the impact of aviation on climate change ahead of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP16 summit.

The COP16 summit in Cancun, Mexico, is set to take place in late November and early December.

"[The Assembly] is the best opportunity for governments to endorse the industry's position," says Bisignani. He describes the UNFCCC's previous COP15 summit in Copenhagen as an "enormous mess" for failing to produce a global framework, but signals optimism following the recent change in leadership at the UNFCCC, which he says has "opened a new phase".

New UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres has "strongly supported our efforts", says Bisignani, adding that the approach to COP16 "will be completely different" from the approach leading up to COP15.

The urgency behind the need for ICAO to produce a global framework at its assembly in Montreal on 28 September is also stressed by John Byerly, deputy assistant secretary of state for transportation affairs at the US Department of State.

"Failure is not an option. If we don't reach a consensus [at ICAO] it will be absolute chaos," says Byerly. "I've got my fingers and toes crossed that we will manage to pull off a success at ICAO, but it's going to be difficult."

Bisignani accuses governments of "using the environment as an excuse for post-recession fund-raising" and is strongly encouraging regulators to help the aviation industry meet its carbon dioxide reduction targets.