The International Civil Aviation Organization is readying its high-level environmental group, created early this month in order to find a market-based answer to airline emissions, for its first meeting in mid-December.
The group contains representatives from 17 states.
While the names of these representatives haven’t been released, American Shipper
has learned that the United States, Canada, China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom all have a seat at the table. Representatives will meet at ICAO’s headquarters in Montreal, as needed, up until the organization’s 2013 Assembly, where the group will present its findings.
“This group has been established to provide senior-level policy decisions on issues relating to the full range of activities ICAO is pursuing in its efforts to mitigate aviation’s impact on the environment,” an ICAO spokesman said. “It will be prioritizing some policy issues, which have been highlighted by the expert groups now working on the development of the market-based-measure framework and the feasibility report for an MBM global scheme. The experts have indicated they need these policy matters settled before they can progress further.”
Addressing environmental issues in aviation through an MBM has been on ICAO’s agenda since 2010, but the situation was brought to the fore when the European Union applied its cap-and-trade emissions scheme to aviation in early 2011. Under the law, all planes flying into Europe had to measure their emissions, and starting in 2013, they would have had to pay for any excess over a certain allowance. Condemnation came from all corners of the globe — from governments to organizations in the aviation sector; President Obama yesterday signed a bill that would have prevented U.S. airlines from participating in the EU’s emissions-trading scheme.
Due to this uproar, the EU recently suspended its plans for a year. According to the ICAO spokesman, the EU’s plan failed because it wasn’t inclusive.
“ICAO operates as a consensus-development forum for its member states. The EU faced a backlash because its process and solution represented the consensus of its states only,” the spokesman said. “Any ICAO solution would represent the consensus of the global air transport community as represented by all of our 191 member states.”
EU officials have said that as long as ICAO reaches an acceptable result, the emissions-trading scheme won’t be brought back to the aviation sector. According to the spokesman, measuring up to the EU’s wishes isn’t a concern.
“Whether or not the EU considers our work sufficiently advanced to further delay its ETS come autumn 2013 is something only time and the EU can tell at this point,” the spokesman said. - Jon Ross