Tag: aviation

International Transport and the Paris Agreement

November 2017

Moderated by Kelsey Perlman, Carbon Market Watch

  • Introduction to CAN International Recommendations
  • Percentage of the carbon budget: Growth of shipping and aviation - Andrew Murphy, Transport and Environment. 3:58 mins
  • Introduction of international transport emissions: Ties to the UNFCCC and diffculties of regulation of ICAO / IMO - Beatriz Martinez Romera - University of Copenhagen. 16:32 mins, and at 38:25 mins
  • The Facilitative Dialogue and Global Stocktake: The importance of IMO and ICAO as non-state actors - Mark Lutes, WWF. 22:20 mins
  • The Transparency Framework: Reporting of bunker fuels and future outlooks - Stelios Pesmajoglou, GHG Management Institute. 44:41mins
  • Carbon markets and double counting: Rules needed for trading outside of NDC's - Aki Kachi, Carbon Market Watch 1:11:08 mins
  • Question and answer session. 1:24:31 mins

International Transport and the Paris Agreement Webinar video

CAN Annual Policy Document: Pacific COP - Solidarity and Action to Realize the Promise of Paris



Bunkers: No More Evasive Maneuvers

The way things are going, ships and airplanes will be able to cruise the seas and skies without serious emissions control measures for some years to come. Earlier this year the International Maritime Organization (IMO) indefinitely suspended its consideration of market based measures (MBMs) that can put a cap and a price on emissions in line with the polluter-pays principle.

In early October, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) decided to ‘develop’ (the text neglected to commit to actually ‘adopt’ or ‘implement’) an MBM by 2016 – not a particularly noteworthy achievement after well over a decade discussing these very measures. And the only emissions target mentioned in the agreement (but still in essence bracketed by party reservations) is carbon neutral growth after 2020. Meanwhile, under intense pressure from airlines and many governments, the EU is severely scaling back its ETS coverage of international air traffic, the only measure in the world that regulates aviation emissions.

The shipping and aviation industries must be very pleased with themselves. Thanks to their intensive lobbying of transport ministries and the tendency by governments to treat these sectors as a proxy for the broader negotiations, countries seeking action on emissions from these sectors have practically thrown in the towel.

Giving the IMO and ICAO free rein to pursue emissions from these sectors with no real accountability is not likely to turn out well for people or the planet. The owners of ships and airlines have much more direct influence over transport ministries that represent parties in these bodies. These sectors have benefitted from their unique access to tax-free fuels for too long to be willing to start paying their way now. Ambitious emissions reduction targets and anything resembling carbon pricing for these sectors is highly unlikely.

The UNFCCC must ensure that the international shipping and aviation sectors contribute their fair share to global efforts. They should be included in any considerations of equity, such as calculation of historical responsibility and other applicable indicators. The ADP and the COP must adopt decisions that either set emissions limits directly, or provide guidance to ensure a sufficient level of ambition in emissions reduction efforts, particularly in emissions limits set as part of global Market Based Measures. The new legal agreement to be finalized in 2015 must contain provisions that ensure these sectors contribute their fair share to global efforts.

To ensure accountability and adequate consideration of these sectors, the ADP must receive regular reports from ICAO and IMO on efforts to control GHG emissions from these sectors, including progress towards implementation of market based measures that can put a cap on emissions, put a price on emissions, and generate finance for climate action.


Aviation Sector Emissions and Impacts on South Asia

Vositha Wijenayake
Outreach and Advocacy Coordinator
CAN South Asia

The emissions from aviation have become a key concern for most states currently, including those of South Asia as they contribute to around 2.0-2.5% of the current total annual global CO2 emissions.

Emissions from aviation in developed countries (domestic and international) account for approximately 3.5% of their total emissions. A rough estimate indicates that 62% of the total emissions from the aviation sector are generated from international flights. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reported that international aviation emissions from developed countries rose by 65.8% between 1990 and 2005 (based on inventory data reported by countries). Although the growth in the aviation sector in developing countries will continue to increase, the demand for aviation will be especially strong in China, India and the Middle East.

Given the above data, it is obvious that we cannot remain ignorant of that is happening in the aviation sector. As India plays a key role in the regional emission reduction, as well as the regional politics in terms of climate change action, it is important to reach agreement on how to move forward in promoting aviation emission caps that would not be adverse to developing states, as well as beneficial in solving the issue of harmful emissions.

Furthermore it is known that to limit the increase in temperature to 2 ˚C would require reductions in all sectors, including aviation. While capping pollution from the aviation sector is important and urgent, reductions in other sectors too need to be scaled up significantly.

The two key principles that could be considered to be at the heart of discussion on finding a way forward to address GHG emissions from international aviation are:

(i) UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability (CBDR & RC); and,

(ii) The laws and regulations for the operation of aircrafts as well as airports and other charges should be applied without distinction amongst national and foreign aircrafts. This is commonly referred as the non-discriminatory principle.

Furthermore, “rather than focusing on the importance of finding the appropriate forum to address emissions from international aviation, it is important to address the key concern of developing countries on the following aspects, to find a solution irrespective of the forum.*”

To facilitate outcome under the ICAO, the UNFCCC should adopt a decision requesting ICAO to develop measures to address GHG emissions from the aviation sector and reiterate that any approach used under ICAO will not prejudice outcomes under the Ad hoc Durban Platform on a new agreement for the post-2020 regime. It should also be reassuring that countries will not resort to unilateral trade measures.      

*Reference to speech made by Mr. Sudhir Sharma at the side event on Aviation Emissions organized by Bread for the World during the UNFCCC session in Bonn, June 2013.

Related Member Organization: 

CAN Position: Market Based Measures (MBMs) for International Aviation, February 2013


International aviation is a major and fast-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Despite on-going discussions for over 15 years within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) there exists no legal instrument which addresses the limitation and reduction of emissions of the international aviation sector globally, even though emissions have grown to the point where aviation represents an estimated 4.9% of global radiative forcing.  Further, aviation activities are being under-charged from an environmental perspective. Yet there is high potential to reduce these emissions globally, beyond the energy efficiency measures being developed and considered under ICAO. Carbon pricing would be an effective means of addressing this situation and can be applied fairly and equitably.
The current year – 2013 – is a crucial year for decisions on the adoption of market-based mechanisms to address aviation emissions. The European Commission proposed in late 2012 a one year “stop the clock” exemption, temporarily deferring enforcement of the obligation of aircraft operators in respect of incoming and outgoing flights under the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) to give a final chance for the adoption of a global approach through a multilateral process under ICAO. In late 2012 the ICAO Council created a High Level Group on Climate Change to provide political impetus towards agreement on measures to address GHG emissions, including a global market-based measure (MBM). The highest decision making body of ICAO – its triennial Assembly – is meeting in September/ October 2013. Since it only meets every three years it is essential that an ambitious global MBM for addressing the sector’s emissions is agreed upon at this year’s Assembly.

Climate Financing Finally Taking Off?

Would delegates complain if their ticket price to come to the Bonn session has a small surcharge to cover the allowances for the aviation emissions?How about  if the money that is collected was destined for climate finance? Well, the inclusion of international aviation into the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) precisely does that. The aviation industry, at least in the US and China, is complaining to the Courts and  lobbying their governments to use their influence to stop the EU’s leadership decision to include aviation emissions within their Emissions Trading Scheme. 

Frustrated with endless delays in discussions on how to regulate aviation emissions at ICAO, the EU acted on its own, including airlines in their Emissions Trading Scheme beginning in 2012. All flights flying in and out of Europe will have to start paying emission allowances and be subject to a declining cap.  But the EU gave an incentive to other countries: if they create “equivalent measures” to reduce airline emissions from international flights in their own countries, their airlines flying into Europe won’t be subject to the ETS.

Sadly, countries are not taking them up on their challenge.  Instead, the US airline industry is suing to dispute the scheme. US airlines have also gone to their pals in the US Congress and are pleading with the Obama Administration to come to their rescue. NGOs in the US have called on the government to defend Europe’s right to reduce emissions and be on the side of environmental integrity, not pollution from aircraft. 

In an unfortunate alignment of interests, Chinese airlines have now said they will challenge the scheme as well.  The BASIC countries’ statement also indicated that they are uncomfortable with the EU action, on the grounds that it’s unilateral and does not adhere to the CBDR-principle as laid down in the Convention. However, the door is still open for the BASIC to deal with aviation and maritime emissions within the UNFCCC-framework. A global system is preferable, but the EU is on the right track and its actions illustrate how to make this work at a global level.  The AGF report last year introduced the concept of “no net incidence” on developing countries that can ensure that a global system of international transportation emissions measures can fulfill the principle of CBDR.

ECO believes a multilateral approach would be the best approach to these inherently global sectors, is a global approach under a multilateral regime that reconciles the principles of non-discrimination that prevails in these sectors (IMO and ICAO) with the principles of the climate convention, including CBDR.

In the absence of a global regime, the EU should be congratulated on its efforts to fulfill its KP Article 2.2 responsibilities to regulate aviation emissions under its jurisdiction. However, this is only the second-best solution – the best approach would be global, while respecting CBDR.

The UNFCCC should support ways to control the rapidly growing emissions from these global sectors, respecting the principles of the various regimes, while ensuring they play a role in financing global climate action, and that there is no net incidence or burden on developing countries. Aviation emissions are projected to nearly triple in the next few decades. The EU is doing its part to address this rapidly growing problem. If Parties want a global solution, then they must start here in Bonn, placing bunkers squarely on the agenda, with a goal of arriving at a decision in Durban on international transportation emissions and finance.

All parties, particularly those expressing reservations about the approach taken by the EU, should work vigorously towards an agreed outcome in Durban that ensures these global sectors make the biggest possible contribution to emissions reductions and global climate resilient and low carbon development.

Related Newsletter : 

Bunkers Has an Important Shipment to Deliver

The final report of the Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing (AGF) that was established by the UN Secretary General early in 2010 may be the most anticipated document in the climate negotiations these days. 

In November, the AGF panel is expected to deliver recommendation on the crucial question of how to generate, at a minimum, $100 billion per year by 2020, providing a crucial part of the groundwork needed for a new and dramatically scaled-up strategy for climate finance as a whole.

One thing is already clear for sure: no single source will serve as silver bullet to achieve that target. A combination of different instruments will have to be found.

As a result, attention is focusing on some of the major pieces.  And there is no question one of those top-tier sources should be revenues generated with regard to emissions from ‘bunker fuels’ (international aviation and maritime fuels). 

An international levy or auction revenues assessed on aviation and shipping would deliver predictable, consistent and additional public funding to support climate actions by non-Annex 1 countries.  If properly structured, this could eventually contribute as much as $40 billion per year.  Without that, it will be nearly impossible to collect the public funds that are needed in aggregate for climate finance.

In assessing various alternative methods, it is clear that in order to avoid carbon leakage it is imperative to take a global sectoral approach.  On the revenue side it is economically reasonable to include all countries.  But for fairness reasons it is crucial to ensure that the respective contributions of developing countries are fully refunded, and there are quite a few detailed proposals for doing so.

By increasing the resources for the new fund through stable contributions from the transport sector, developing countries would benefit from the increased support available for adaptation, REDD and other measures.

So delegates, as you land on your flights back home, remember to transmit this message to your capitals: now is the time to support the development of productive
instruments to generate climate finance from international transport.  It is essential for putting the necessary scale of financial support on the table.

Related Newsletter : 

Agree on finance from bunkers

ECO never tires of pointing out the obvious to delegates, but we promise we do it for your own benefit. So here we go again. What if you could find a way to control the fastest growing sources of emissions and generate billions of dollars of climate finance at the same time. You’d do it, wouldn’t you? ECO respectfully suggests you do just that for international aviation and shipping emissions, right here in Copenhagen.

Parties agree the emissions cannot be attributed to specific countries. The emissions are international, so the mitigation framework must be global. That’s okay, Article 4.1c of the Convention allows for this, but Article 4.3 lays down some conditions. To ensure the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is respected, revenues created from bunker regulation — some estimates suggest US$25-37 billion per year — should be used to defray incremental costs and support climate action in developing countries.  Analysis shows that the impacts on trade would be minimal. Special exceptions can and should be made to exclude routes to and from the SIDS and LDCs, this is fully in the power of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) to do.

A key priority in the next seven days is ensuring that developing countries receive new, additional and stable finance to support their efforts. As many delegates have put it, no money, no deal! Bunkers can help bridge that gap by creating complementary money in addition to assessed contributions by Annex I countries. What a great double dividend: we achieve climate benefits while generating new climate money (through a levy or the auctioning of emission permits).

Now, consider the alternative. You keep on arguing in circles. Nothing gets decided. And bunker emissions keep on rising, making 2˚C impossible, let alone 1.5˚C. A recent study estimates that they would take up 92% of global emissions in 2050 if the rest of the world reduces emissions by the 80% we need. Further, unilateral approaches are springing up. The EU has already moved to bring aviation into its emissions trading system, and is likely to do the same for shipping in the absence of global action. In the US, bunker fuels are covered in the draft Congressional Bill. Such regional measures still cover developing country operators when they visit these major trading blocs but the money generated will not flow to developing countries. It goes to Annex I governments!

This is a huge missed opportunity. Don’t let it happen. Agree on something good: targets for  the sectors, timelines for ICAO and IMO to deliver at COP 16, and the principle of a co-operative approach that generates revenue for developing countries.

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