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Air Transport Association Of America Disappointed In European Unilateralism

International Civil Aviation Organization adopts new provisions to address greenhouse gas emissions

Oct 12, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC - The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted of a new set of provisions as part of its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the international aviation industry. Included in an Assembly Resolution from the recently-concluded triennial meeting of the United Nations body are goals for aviation to achieve a 2 percent annual average fuel-efficiency improvement through 2020, and to cap or offset the growth of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions beyond 2020, as well as additional framework details on emissions-reducing measures.

"ICAO's action in setting aggressive, forward-looking goals for aviation CO2 emissions and key principles in an international framework further affirms its strong leadership on environmental issues involving international aviation," said Air Transport Association of America (ATA) president and CEO James C. May. "While meeting these goals will be challenging, we are especially pleased that the ICAO States recognized the importance of industry and government work on airframe and aircraft-engine breakthroughs, the development and deployment of sustainable alternative aviation fuels, modernization of the air traffic control systems, and other operational and infrastructure improvements as the core measures for continuing to reduce aviation greenhouse gas emissions."

May added that ICAO actions add benefits on top of the already exemplary fuel- and carbon-efficiency record of the US commercial airlines. "The US airlines have improved their fuel efficiency by 110 percent since 1978, resulting in commensurate reductions of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions," said May. "Although aviation accounts for only 2 percent of man-made CO2, we are committed to continuing to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint. This global industry needs an internationally agreed-upon framework. Otherwise, overlapping and conflicting requirements from different States will undercut our efforts."

ATA was part of the united aviation industry coalition that promoted the adoption by ICAO of aggressive CO2 goals for the future under an international framework on aviation and climate change.

May applauded the ICAO adoption of additional guiding principles on market-based measures. "While many of the principles are a matter of common sense, for example, stating that market-based measures should not be duplicative and should be 'cost-effective' and 'minimize market distortions,' it has become clear that ICAO must be overt about them," said May. "ATA and its member carriers have been greatly concerned about measures such as the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and the proliferation of emissions levies in the United Kingdom, Germany, and elsewhere that run afoul of these principles."

May also expressed deep disappointment in the decision by the European States to "reserve" on the aspects of the ICAO Assembly Resolution that reconfirm that countries may impose emissions trading or other market-based measures on the airlines of other countries only through agreement and in accordance with treaty requirements and ICAO principles.

"Unfortunately, despite the tremendous step forward in cementing the international framework, the European States indicated their intent to continue to unilaterally impose their ETS and other measures on airlines from other countries, contrary to the will of all other states and contrary to international law," said May. "We had hoped that an agreement at ICAO would obviate the need for our legal challenge to the application of the EU ETS to our airlines; the European's resolve to ignore international law and key aspects of the new ICAO Assembly Resolution only strengthens our resolve to fight in favor of them."

International Civil Aviation Organization adopts new provisions to address greenhouse gas emissions
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