Negotiations for a freeze, or even a reduction, in greenhouse gas emissions from civil aviation are making progress, Europe’s transport commissioner said on Friday, adding that she is feeling “cautiously optimistic.”
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN agency, opened its three-yearly assembly in Montreal on Tuesday and is meeting there until Friday, with a climate-centered agenda.
“After four days of discussions, I am pleased with the positive momentum emerging from ICAO’s assembly, and cautiously optimistic that there will be a positive outcome,” European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the aviation sector are not part of the Paris accord aimed at limiting the global temperature rise to 2°C — or if possible 1.5°C — by 2050 compared with the pre-industrial era.
The 191 member states are seeking agreement on a proposed global mechanism of compensation for international aviation emissions, the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation.
The objective is to ensure that the volume of aviation emissions in 2035 is no higher, and hopefully lower, than the 2019 and 2020 levels.
To date, 63 nations representing 84 percent of aviation traffic — including the biggest polluters, such as the EU, the US and China — have agreed to take part in this system starting in 2021, according to the ICAO.
“There are still some open issues that need to be solved for all states to be onboard,” Bulc said.
She said the 28-member EU would “continue to defend the current text, in order to prevent further weakening” of the proposed measure.
A source close to the discussions told reporters that informal talks were under way to address the final differences, adding that Latin American and African countries were expressing “considerable” support for the proposal.
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