After 2020, aviation industry growth must be carbon neutral, according to an agreement announced Friday at the 38th Assembly of the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
That objective is to be achieved by improving technology, operations and infrastructure. Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, hailed the agreement as “a great day for aviation, for the effort against climate change and for global standards and international cooperation. Now we have a strong mandate and a short three-year time frame to sort out the details. Airlines need and want a global market-based measure.” The carbon-neutral strategy is expected to be finalized at the 2016 Assembly.
Friday’s agreement catalyzes discussions on the detailed design elements of the measure, including standards for monitoring, reporting and verifying emissions, as well as the type of scheme to be implemented. IATA’s 240 member airlines passed a resolution in June asking governments to develop a global, mandatory carbon offsetting scheme.
“Global” is a key focus for the plan. The ICAO struck down EU efforts aimed at allowing it to continuing charging airlines using its own, existing emissions trading scheme. The ICAO specified that no government can include the airlines of another nation in their emissions trading schemes without their mutual agreement.
The Assembly also encouraged the global adoption of ICAO standards as a strategy to stem the proliferation of non-standard security data requests by governments, to standardize air cargo security regimes and to implement the Roadmap with Strengthen Global Air Cargo Security.
As global navigation systems evolve, the Assembly also encouraged states to develop equipment standards based on capabilities and to refrain from mandating use of specific satellite navigation systems. It also encouraged states to recognize the capabilities of flight simulation training entities that operate under global guidance developed by ICAO and the industry.