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Agreement reached to mitigate international aviation emissions

Staff Writer |
Government, industry and civil society representatives have agreed on a new global market-based measure (GMBM) to control CO2 emissions from international aviation, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) said.

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The historic move came as the Plenary Session of the UN aviation agency’s 39th Assembly agreed to recommend adoption of a final Resolution text for the GMBM.

“It has taken a great deal of effort and understanding to reach this stage, and I want to applaud the spirit of consensus and compromise demonstrated by our Member States, industry and civil society,” remarked ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu.

“We now have practical agreement and consensus on this issue backed by a large number of States who will voluntarily participate in the GMBM – and from its outset. This will permit the CORSIA to serve as a positive and sustainable contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions reduction.”

Implementation of the CORSIA will begin with a pilot phase from 2021 through 2023, followed by a first phase, from 2024 through 2026.

Participation in both of these early stages will be voluntary and the next phase from 2027 to 2035 would see all States on board.

Some exemptions were accepted for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and States with very low levels of international aviation activity.

The European Commission welcomes the landmark agreement. European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said, "This unprecedented agreement opens a new chapter in international aviation, where sustainability finally becomes part of the way we fly.

"Europe has been continuously advocating global and coordinated action to address the growth of aviation emissions which was otherwise set to reach 300% by 2050. Today European solidarity and perseverance has delivered.

"This is the first-ever global agreement to address CO2 emissions in a specific sector of the economy. From 2021, flights between 65 states – including all EU countries - will be covered by a Global Market-Based Measure to offset CO2 emissions. Others will come on-board during the mandatory phase in 2027.

"Around 80% of the emissions above 2020 levels will be offset by the scheme between 2021 and 2035. It contains a strong review clause that will ensure that we are regularly given the chance to improve the Global Market-Based Measure and make it more robust and ambitious, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

"This deal is a decisive step towards the carbon neutral growth of aviation. I hope that others will follow, particularly the shipping sector.

"We have now set a process in motion, which will not be reversed. And yet, it is not 'Mission Accomplished'.

"Over the next two years, ICAO will lay out the technical rules of the Global Market-Based Measure, and we will remain vigilant that it lives up to our expectations and is well implemented. The EU will offer its financial and technical assistance, so that no country is left behind."

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