| BRUSSELS, Sept 3
BRUSSELS, Sept 3 The European Union and 16
surrounding countries including Turkey, Ukraine and Georgia,
said on Saturday they would join the first phase of a
UN-brokered deal to limit carbon emissions from international
flights, following a similar pledge by China and the United
The United Nations' International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO) meets on Sept. 27 to Oct. 7 to finalise the
deal, which would aim to cap the carbon pollution of all
international flights at 2020 levels.
Aviation was excluded from last December's climate accord in
Paris when countries agreed to limit the global average rise in
in temperatures to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees
Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
The proposed new deal on aviation will be voluntary between
2021 and 2026 and then mandatory from 2027 for the world's
Airlines in participating countries would need to limit
their emissions or offset them by buying carbon credits from
designated environmental projects around the world.
The European area announcement generates momentum for the
deal which has faced scepticism from EU lawmakers concerned that
a voluntary first phase which allowed countries to opt out was
not ambitious enough.
The European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), a grouping of
the EU and 16 other countries, said it would join the
market-based plan from the start and urged all other major
aviation states to do so.
"They welcome the commitment of a number of key aviation
states and regions of the world to also join the first
implementation phase of the GMBM (global market-based measure)
scheme and call on other major aviation states and those having
the capacity to do so to do likewise and make their decision
public before the end of the ICAO Assembly," ECAC said in a
China and the United States, the world's two biggest
emitters of carbon from international flights, said earlier on
Saturday they would also volunteer for the first phase.
China's participation had been seen as critical to covering
around 80 percent of the expected rise in emissions from
international flights after 2020.
Mexico, Canada and Indonesia had already said they would
The stakes are high as the EU must decide by the end of the
year whether to keep exempting international flights from its
own emissions trading scheme. It had agreed to give ICAO until
2016 to find a global deal on curbing emissions from
EU lawmakers on Thursday criticised the draft deal for
including a voluntary phase, saying it did not justify extending
the exemption on international flights beyond the end of the
(Editing by Greg Mahlich)