ICAO, UNFCCC unite on aviation climate strategy
With only a few days remaining before the important 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21), the Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Dr. Fang Liu, announced the adoption today of the first aviation-related Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) methodology under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Importantly, the new CDM approach relates to forward-looking projects that will incentivize innovation and significantly reduce emissions from aircraft while they maneuver at airports. The methodology will quantify CO2 reductions from the use of electric aircraft taxiing systems. ICAO and the UNFCCC secretariat are also cooperating in the development of a methodology covering the supply and use of solar power for aircraft operations at airport arrival and departure gates.
“ICAO has worked very closely and diligently on these developments with our colleagues in the UNFCCC secretariat, and we are grateful for this very positive decision by the CDM Executive Board at its 87th Meeting,” highlighted Dr. Liu. “The approved methodology represents an important first step in allowing credits to be generated by aviation emission reduction initiatives, and will eventually help to realize a more environmentally sustainable air transport sector globally.”
Under the CDM, emission reduction projects in developing countries can earn Certified Emission Reduction (CER) credits. These saleable credits, each representing one tonne of CO2, can be used by industrialized countries to meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
Emissions from aviation activity currently represent approximately two per cent of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions. However, significant growth in emissions from domestic aviation activities is expected as developing markets mature, thus the importance of measures to mitigate these emissions through the CDM.
“Just a few days ahead of the beginning of decisive international negotiations on climate change in Paris, it is encouraging to see the continuing relevance of CDM as a pillar for the widespread implementation of CO2 mitigation and sustainable development measures,” commented John Kilani, Director Sustainable Development Mechanisms programme, UNFCCC secretariat. “Aviation holds considerable untapped potential for emission reductions through CDM projects and we’re excited to bring this important message to COP21.”
Emissions from international aviation are being addressed by States parties through ICAO, where they have agreed to an aspirational 2020 goal of carbon-neutral growth through a basket of measures, such as aircraft-related technology development, alternative fuels, improved air traffic management and infrastructure, efficient operations, and market-based measures.
Emissions from domestic aviation are addressed by each Party under the UNFCCC.