U.N. aviation body reaches consensus on emissions deal

The United Nations civil aviation body reached consensus to create what would be a market-based scheme to help curb carbon emissions from a major industry by 2020, but rejected a European proposal that would have let it apply its own market scheme to foreign airlines in the interim.

The resolution sets steps for the International Civil Aviation Organization’s member states to take from now to the next triennial assembly in 2016 to curb growing emissions from the aviation sector. So, the committee agreed to “decide to develop a global MBM (market-based mechanism) scheme for international aviation” in 2016.

But the ICAO Assembly’s president Michel Wachenheim amended the text to reflect requests made by some developing countries, such as India, to say that the 2016 decision should take into account “environmental and economic impacts” of different global MBM options, including feasibility and practicability.

So, it is clear that all the countries want to reach a global agreement to reduce emissions. However, there is a dilemma with EU. It is not known if the committee would be able to reach consensus on the global MBM after a group of mostly developing countries voted to limit the ability of the European Union to apply its emissions trading system (ETS) to international airlines until a global scheme starts.

The EU had insisted that a deal at the ICAO should allow it to be able to apply its ETS while countries continue to work toward a global market, but gradually started backing down amid fierce pushback from countries ranging from Argentina to Russia.

So, now, the European Parliament will have to act quickly to endorse any extension of the European Commission’s decision to “stop the clock” on its law in time for an April 2014 deadline.

 

 

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