ICAO’s climate change working group will meet again in March to assess the three remaining options for a global emissions trading scheme and to tackle the thorny issue of how developing nations will be integrated into such a system.
Speaking via video link to the Aviation Carbon 2013 conference in London in February, ICAO Environment Unit chief Jane Hupe said, “Since the last Assembly, significant work has been undertaken on this issue. This work has enabled the narrowing down of global market-based measure options to three: global mandatory offsetting, global mandatory offsetting with revenue generation, and global emissions trading.”
The options are being evaluated by ICAO’s high-level group on climate change, which was formed Nov. 12 to develop policy recommendations on aviation and climate change, including a framework for a global market-based measures scheme.
The formation of this high-level group prompted the European Commission to ‘stop the clock’ on the controversial inclusion of international flights in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). ICAO is under considerable pressure to reach an agreement on a global solution during its 38th Assembly this fall ahead of the expiry of the partial EU ETS suspension at the end of 2013.
“The high-level group has met twice over the past three months and key issues have been identified on which members have express diverging views. These diverse views need to be bridged to lead to the development of the market-based measure framework. The group also identified that further work is needed on the feasibility of global market-based measures scheme,” Hupe said.
One of the key sticking points is the principal of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ (CBDR), laid down by the Kyoto Protocol, where all States have a common environmental responsibility but allowances are made for less-developed countries. Hupe described this as an “over-arching” challenge for the group, which will “meet again in March and is expected to provide clear policy recommendations on this matter.”
“It is clear that State’s aviation sectors are at different levels of development and these diverse circumstances need to be addressed. This is the case in most areas that we deal with in ICAO, not only the environment. ICAO has processes in place and will continue to explore other avenues to increase the assistance provided to member states. As result of this increasing engagement with our states, we expect that they will show even greater willingness to move forward on a global solution on aviation and climate change to be reached at the 38th session of the ICAO Assembly,” Hupe said.