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EU: ICAO climate accord provides 'good basis' for aviation's inclusion in ETS

ATW Daily News by Cathy Buyck 12 Oct.10

The European Commission said ICAO's comprehensive agreement on climate change provides a "good basis" for it to "swiftly" proceed with plans to include aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme starting in 2012.

Member states of ICAO last week finalized an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions including creating a framework to implement market-based measures to manage aviation GHGs on a sectoral basis (ATW Daily News, Oct. 11). Despite intense opposition from industry groups and governments around the world, the EU is holding firm to its plan to regulate airlines' carbon dioxide emissions via the ETS from 2012 (ATW Daily News, June 25).

"The resolution adopted expressly recognizes that aircraft emissions must be stabilized and that also big developing countries have a role to play in this regard," EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard said, noting that ICAO's goal is "not as ambitious as Europe thinks it should be, but at the same time ICAO has recognized that some states may take more ambitious actions prior to 2020. Critically, the deal is a good basis for proceeding swiftly with the inclusion of aviation [in the ETS] as foreseen by the EU legislation in force."

While praising the ICAO agreement, US Air Transport Assn. President and CEO James May expressed "deep disappointment" at the EU's steadfastness on the ETS. "Unfortunately, despite the tremendous step forward in cementing the international framework, the European states indicated their intent to continue to unilaterally impose their ETS and other measures on airlines from other countries, contrary to the will of all other states and contrary to international law. We had hoped that an agreement at ICAO would obviate the need for our legal challenge to the application of the EU ETS to our airlines." He said that "the Europeans [have resolved] to ignore international law and key aspects of the new ICAO assembly resolution."

But he said ATA was "especially pleased that the ICAO states recognized the importance of industry and government work on airframe and aircraft-engine breakthroughs, the development and deployment of sustainable alternative aviation fuels, modernization of the air traffic control systems and other operational and infrastructure improvements as the core measures for continuing to reduce aviation greenhouse gas emissions."

The International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Assns. said it "welcomed the agreement reached" at the ICAO assembly, calling it "decisive progress towards a global plan to address CO2 emissions from aviation."

EU VP-Responsible for Transport Siim Kallas described the deal as "very significant because, at a global level, governments and the aviation industry have for the first time agreed to cap greenhouse emissions from 2020. It is the first time any transport sector has been able to reach this kind of global deal. This is a real breakthrough."

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