WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An agreement reached on Friday by nearly 190 members to the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization will set in motion discussions on how to design global market-based measure to stem the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector.
The current share of aviation’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions ranges currently from 2 percent to 5 percent, according to estimates from various sources. But with air traffic expected to skyrocket in the coming years, emissions in the sector are poised to triple by 2050.
Countries agreed to spend the next three years working out the details of a future market mechanism that would take effect in 2020 and plan a vote to adopt the proposal in 2016.
The market scheme would be part of a basket of other measures, including the use of biofuels, aimed at moving the aviation industry toward carbon neutral growth by 2020.
They will figure out what standards to use for monitoring emissions and emission cuts, reporting and verification and the type of scheme to be implemented.
The main aviation lobby group, the International Air Transport Association, agreed in June to back a global offsetting approach, in which airlines would be able to buy carbon credits from emission-cutting projects outside the aviation sector to compensate for emissions from the aviation sector.
The following are highlights of the resolution on climate change agreed to at ICAO’s 38th triennial assembly:
-Member nations decided to develop a global market-based mechanism scheme for international aviation;
-The ICAO Council and member states will work on “technical aspects, environmental and economic impacts and modalities of the possible options for a global market-based scheme, including on its feasibility and practicability”;
-The agreement also calls on the Council and states to “identify major issues and problems” to inform the work of the next assembly in 2016;
-The administrative burden of implementing a market-based mechanism for states or aircraft operators with low levels of international aviation activity should not exceed the benefits of participation;
-Market-based mechanisms should include deminimus provisions, which could exempt certain developing countries from having to comply;
-The resolution says market-based measures should take into account the principle of ”common but differentiated responsibilities,“ ”special circumstances and respective capabilities and the principle of non-discrimination and fair opportunities;
-It recognizes the aviation industry’s goal to improve fuel efficiency of aircraft by 2 percent annually;
-The resolution should not prejudge the outcome of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations.
Reporting by Valerie Volcovici, editing by Ros Krasny and Kenneth Barry