Airline industry body agrees on first global deal on carbon emissions


A first-ever global deal on curbing the airline industry’s rising carbon emissions was agreed upon Friday, the International Civil Aviation Organization said, though hammering out the details could take years.

The full agreement is not scheduled to take effect until 2020 but the most contentious issues have been resolved, officials said in Montreal.

Air transport “now becomes the only major industry sector to have a multilateral global market-based mechanism agreement in place to help govern future greenhouse gas emissions,” ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez said.

Aviation accounts for around 3 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide, but the ICAO forecasts that by 2050 emissions will rise by four to six times.

Last year, the EU suspended its CO2 Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for intercontinental flights after facing criticism. Under the EU’s arrangement, airlines flying in EU airspace were required to buy pollution credits to cover 15 percent of their carbon-dioxide emissions for the entire flight.

According to a draft text of the agreement submitted for consideration at the ICAO meeting, countries must agree by 2016 on a global market-based mechanism and reject all regional programs. Specific proposals under consideration for curbing emissions include a carbon tax and a carbon trading system.