UN aviation body agrees to close carbon emissions loophole

(Climate Change News, 6 Mar 2019) Rules to avoid double-counting of emissions cuts are a step forward, say campaigners, but more assurances are needed to meet the sector’s climate promises.

Negotiators have agreed rules to prevent double-counting of carbon credits used to offset airline emissions, at a meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) Council in Montreal, Canada.

The sector has committed to carbon-neutral growth from 2020. As air traffic growth outpaces efficiency improvements, airlines will be expected to pay for emissions reductions in other sectors to offset the climate impact.

In a closed-room meeting, Icao adopted broad criteria to ensure those carbon offsets are not also counted towards national targets and represent extra emissions savings. That was reported by NGO observers and confirmed on Twitter by French negotiator Philippe Bertoux. The press office did not respond to a request for comment.

Climate campaigners welcomed the decision, but said more was needed to meet the industry’s promises. They are also calling for an age limit on eligible carbon offsetting projects and transparency around the way the rules are put into practice.

“This decision is a step forward,” said Gilles Dufrasne, policy officer at Carbon Market Watch, “but without setting an ambitious restriction on the age of eligible credits for the scheme, it could mean a giant setback for climate action. The aviation industry needs to face the reality that only new carbon reductions can deliver its goal of carbon neutral growth.”

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Climate Change News, 6 Mar 2019: UN aviation body agrees to close carbon emissions loophole