ICAO continues work to develop a CO2 standard

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ICAO remains optimistic that it can introduce a CO2 standard sometime in 2013, but the organisation realises that deadline could be compromised if resources are dedicated to concurrent projects on noise stringency and certification of particulate matter emissions for aircraft engines.

The organisation is working towards creating a standard to coincide with the next cycle of its Committee on Aviation Environment Protection (CAEP) 9 scheduled for 2013.

During the ICAO Colloquium on Aviation and Climate Change Curtis Holsclaw, who serves as Rapporteur of the CAEP working group on emissions, explained the three year timeframe to complete the complex task of establishing the standard is unprecedented.

The working group must ensure the standard is equitable across all products and manufacturers, and allows flexibility in aircraft design, says Holsclaw.

Other issues the group needs to consider include determining specific aircraft to which the standard would apply, explains Holsclaw. The group needs to determine if the standard will encompass only new aircraft types, or if in-service aircraft should be included, he says.

As the group looks at options for certification of the new CO2 standard, Holsclaw stresses the importance of examining cost analysis for different stringency standards as regulatory compliance guidelines are developed .

Holsclaw admits the group is already struggling with determining metrics to accompany the CO2 standard, and warns other standards the group is tasked with developing including noise stringency and particulate matter could tax its resources.

As ICAO works to develop a CO2 standard NASA is conducting its own research in carbon dioxide reduction through its environmentally responsible aviation (ERA) project, and has determined if noting changes in the aviation industry CO2 emissions in the USA will double by 2050. But using some of the technologies under consideration and in development through ERA NASA chief engineer for aerosciences Larry Leavitt estimates CO2 emissions could fall by 40% during the same time period.

Leavitt explains biofuels are not being used in ERA, noting NASA believes there is a cost associated with the introduction of those fuels.

ICAO is working to develop its draft resolution on international aviation and climate change for introduction during the 37th assembly of its member states scheduled for September.