ICAO continues work towards establishing emissions targets

Washington DC
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While Europe presses ahead with implementing aviation's inclusion in its emissions trading scheme, the ICAO group tackling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continues to work toward making global recommendations for addressing the industry's contribution to climate change.

The European Union set a 31 August 2009 deadline for airlines operating to, from and within member states to submit their emissions monitoring plans as aviation emissions will be added to the ETS starting in 2012.

However, the EU remains open to alternative means of addressing aviation's contribution to climate change.

If ICAO presents a satisfactory global solution, the EU ETS will be amended accordingly, Luisa Ragher, head of transport, energy and environment for the delegation of the European Commission in Washington says. However, at the Air Transport World Eco-Aviation conference in Washington on 28 May she declined to specify what might constitute an adequate alternative.

The body responsible for helping ICAO craft its solution -- the Group on International Aviation and Climate Change (GIACC) -- concluded its latest meeting on 27 May.

GIACC is tasked with making recommendations to ICAO before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) sets general GHG emission targets that will be effective after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

While 2.5% and 3% improvements in fuel efficiency had been discussed as possible medium and long-term aspirations, GIACC has agreed upon an aspirational 2% annual improvement from the 2005 in-service fleet levels for the medium-term time period of 2013-2020 and the long-term phase of 2021-2050.

In addition, GIACC will also recommend to the council that it seek to develop carbon dioxide (CO2) standards for aircraft.

Lastly, GIACC will propose that the ICAO secretariat collect traffic and fuel burn data annually from its member states and recommend member states be encouraged to develop environmental action plans and to file those plans with ICAO.

The ICAO Assembly will vote on emission targets in September or October 2010.