Sunday, September 25, 2016

Landmark Deal to Curb Airline Emissions Expected in Montreal

A passenger plane flies towards Heathrow airport at dawn in London, Britain, September 12, 2016. (Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville) Click to Enlarge.
The world's first deal to curb pollution from commercial flights is expected after United Nations-led talks kick off next week in Montreal, although European lawmakers remain skeptical that it would be tough enough.

The agreement, backed by the United States, China and the United Arab Emirates, aims to limit rising airline pollution to 2020 levels after it takes effect in 2021, but has been watered down by being made voluntary for the first five years.  It only becomes mandatory from 2027 for the world's largest emitters, and would cost airlines less than 2 percent of industry revenue.

Although they have the option of later opting out, 55 countries now say they will join the first phase of the deal under discussion at the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) assembly from Sept. 27 to Oct. 7.

While the European Commission supports the deal, European lawmakers are torn between backing the diluted version, or imposing their own tougher emissions trading scheme on foreign carriers and risking a trade war with China and India.
While a simple majority of ICAO's 191 member countries could approve an agreement, the agency prefers to operate by consensus, with most states supporting a deal, said Annie Petsonk, international counsel for the green group Environmental Defense Fund.

"What is at stake is the aviation sector's commitment to deal with its climate impact," Petsonk said.  "It would be a very big precedent for other industries like shipping."

Read more at Landmark Deal to Curb Airline Emissions Expected in Montreal

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