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Aviation and Shipping

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Global Aviation Market Mechanism

Carbon Market Watch has been advocating for fair an effective climate protection in the aviation sector. Our work centers around the market mechanism that the aviation sector is currently debating.

Aviation contributes to about 2% of global CO2 emissions and if other warming effects are included, total GHG effects of aviation are double or more. The sector is growing rapidly at 3% per year.

In 1997 ICAO was tasked under the Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gas emissions of aviation but sufficient climate action has yet to follow. ICAO agreed on two climate relevant targets:

  • –  A 2% global average annual fuel efficiency improvement between 2010 and 2020 (and an aspirational goal of 2 % average annual improvements up to 2050)
  • –  Keeping the global net CO2 emissions of international aviation from 2020 at the same level

The carbon neutral goal will not be met with the planned in-sector reductions. ICAO therefore agreed to consider a market mechanism to address the gap between in-sector measures and the carbon neutral goal.

Negotiations at ICAO

At its 38th Assembly in October 2013, ICAO agreed to consider developing market-based measures (MBM). CO2 emission from international flights would be stabilized at 2020 levels through the purchase of offsets and allowances from mechanisms in other sectors, such as for example, offsets from the CDM. In 2016, at the next ICAO assembly, countries will decide if such a global MBM will be established for post 2020. Technical and political ICAO bodies are currently working on determining the design elements of a global MBM.

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Our Work

Carbon Market Watch is a member of the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) founded in 1998 as a network of environmental NGOs working on aviation issues.

ICSA is a member of the technical committee of ICAO that develops recommendations on the rules that would govern such a global MBM and the eligibility of carbon credits. Together with other NGOs, Carbon Market Watch advocates for the highest level of environmental integrity. We participate in all the technical meetings and help shape the eligibility criteria of offsets to ensure environmental and social integrity of all the units that may be used under a global MBM.

ICSA members have launched Flightpath 1.5, a public advocacy campaign to call for ambitious and effective measures to address aviation emission in the lead up to the 39t ICAO General Assembly in September-October 2016.

Current aviation climate goals are insufficient to ensure the sector does its fair share to achieve a 2 degree goal. Carbon Market Watch is advocating that:

  • –  The aviation sector has to reduce its own emissions significantly.
  • –  A global MBM should not pose perverse incentives that stifle in-sector reductions and must allow for a strengthening of the target.
  • –  A global MBM needs to be complemented by measures that reduce emissions from domestic flights.
  • –  Any units used in a global MBM must have environmental and social integrity:
  • –  Offsetting projects must be additional


 icaoThe International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a UN organisation.The ICAO Assembly is comprised of 191 Member States. They meet every three years. The next meeting is in 2016 where they may decide to establish a global MBM.

The ICAO Council is a permanent body of the Organization responsible to the Assembly. It is composed of 36 Member States elected by the Assembly for a three-year term.

The Environmental Advisory Group (EAG) is a political body made up of Council members. The EAG looks at the overall political picture related to a global MBM design architecture. EAG reports to the ICAO Council.

The Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) is a technical committee of the ICAO Council established in 1983.

The Global Market Task Force (GMTF) was set up by CAEP to elaborate on the technical details of a global MBM. It has two sub-groups:

–  Monitoring, reporting and verification group (GMTF-MRV) is to develop MRV recommendations for global MBM.

–  Eligibility for emissions reduction units group (GMTF-EUR) is to develop recommendations for environmental integrity standards for offsets and allowances eligible for compliance under a global MBM.

NGO Paris letter Letter to UN Secretary General


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