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Webinar – Acting on Aviation Emissions

May 4th, 2016

2-3.30pm CET (Brussels)

Description: Civil aviation is a top ten global polluter: in 2014, the sector emitted more CO2 into the atmosphere than the combined emissions of the 129 lowest emitting countries. In October 2016, member countries of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will take a first decision in history   about the sector’s role in tackling climate change. It is expected that the majority of the effort will be done through offsetting emissions via a global market-based mechanism (GMBM). This webinar will discuss the main challenges regarding this process and how civil society can take action for stringent rules that limit greenwashing, build ambition and provide transparency and environmental integrity.


  • Ensuring ambition for aviation to keep temperatures below 1.5C: Andrew Murphy, Transport and Environment
  • Essential elements of the new mechanism: price, registries and quality standards: Kat Watts, Carbon Market Watch
  • Avoiding greenwashing: Why REDD+ should be kept out of the GMBM: Hannah Mowat, FERN

The event will be moderated by Simon Roach, ENDS Europe

24112824884_2077e0b180_zBackground: Under the Paris Agreement, countries committed to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This objective can only be fulfilled if the aviation industry plays its fair share in reducing emissions rapidly.

Although the Kyoto Protocol called for aviation emissions to be limited and reduced as long ago as 1997, no solution has been adopted to date. An anticipated decision in October 2016 should make a start to the industry by addressing its fast growing emissions with a climate goal that should ensure to cap the growth of net aviation emissions at 2020 levels, mainly through a market based mechanism. However, there is a risk that the October decision will be far from ambitious, riddled with loopholes, and will lack essential accountancy and governance rules for an offsetting mechanism to be anything more than a greenwashing exercise.  Likewise, this deal could act as a brake on more ambitious and effective measures at national or regional level.

The ICAO process is notoriously secretive and non-transparent. Civil society have a key role in demanding that this year’s ICAO agreement will be a first step towards more ambition in the coming years. Likewise, it is essential to ensure that widely accepted offset quality standards are applicable and that projects that have adverse effects for local populations, the climate and the wider environment, such as coal power and other fossil fuel projects, large hydro dams or projects that risk reversing the carbon back into the atmosphere – such as forest protection programmes – are banned from providing carbon offsets to the process.


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