Aviation emissions – new global deal looks likely

Government officials are negotiating a market-based mechanism to reduce emissions in the international aviation industry. Ministers from over 190 countries have gathered at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s General Assembly in Montreal to discuss and vote on a draft resolution. If passed, it will be the first industry-specific global market-based measure for CO2 emissions.
The prospects of achieving resolution are good. So far, 55 countries, including the US, China and EU member states have indicated their support for the proposal and agreed to sign-up for the initial voluntary stage. However, some states with large aviation emissions have yet to confirm their agreement and the EU has questioned how effective the measure will be in combatting climate change. A deal is expected by the end of the Assembly on 7 October.
The proposal aims to prevent the growth of aviation emissions beyond 2020 levels by requiring airlines to offset emissions with carbon credits. The mechanism would take effect on a voluntary basis from 2021, and become mandatory in 2027 with exceptions for some states which are less developed or have low aviation emissions. The offsetting obligations will be based on the sector average emission growth, and later move to incorporate the actual emission growth of individual airlines.

Helen Bowdren

About Helen Bowdren

Helen is a partner in the Environment and Safety team. She advises clients on all aspects of environmental and safety risk, in various sectors including waste, chemicals, oil and gas (onshore and offshore), mining, infrastructure and transport. Helen represents clients in contentious matters, including Environment Agency and HSE investigations and prosecutions, judicial reviews, and statutory appeals. Helen has an international practice, having worked in Dubai and South Africa, and regularly advises on environmental risk in cross-border transactions. She is a member of the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) and the City of London Law Society Environmental Sub Committee.

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