Just weeks ago there was no international agreement on limiting emissions from the aviation sector.
The Kyoto Protocol states that developed countries should pursue reductions of emissions from the international aviation and maritime sectors through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) respectively, but until now there have been no binding targets for these sectors.
Emissions from flights within, to and from the EU were included in the EU ETS in Phase 3. After substantial international discussions, the EU decided to “stop the clock” on applying the provision to international flights coming to and leaving the EU in order to give ICAO time to develop a global scheme to tackle GHG emissions from the aviation sector.
At ICAO’s 2013 General Assembly, countries set a “global aspirational goal” of ensuring “carbon neutral growth” for the aviation sector after 2020. In order to achieve this goal, work has progressed within ICAO on a global market-based mechanism.
This October, an international agreement for the aviation sector was agreed in Montreal, Canada. The agreement seeks to ensure that the aviation sector becomes carbon neutral after 2020 and halves net emissions by 2050 compared to 2005. Aviation accounts for two percent of global GHG emissions, but this is expected to double by 2030 without policy intervention.