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Policy Brief: Aviation’s Credibility on Environmental Integrity


Executive Summary

ICAO is developing a Global Market Based Mechanism to achieve the goal of carbon neutral growth in the industry post-2020. Work is currently in progress to define which credits should be eligible to be used as offsets in this market. Ideally, ICAO would agree, then operationalize, core principles, like those agreed under the UNFCCC in Durban in 2011, that emissions credits should be:

  • Real
  • Permanent
  • Additional
  • Verified, avoid double counting of effort
  • Achieve a net decrease of greenhouse gas emissions

Additionally, they should contribute to sustainable development and do no social or environmental harm.

Most, if not all, existing carbon markets recognize this and have implemented so-called negative lists, that deem certain project types ineligible for compliance in that market.Experience with existing carbon markets, notably the largest, the Clean Development Mechanism, demonstrates that while principles are helpful, they have not prevented the implementation of project types that have proven unable to fulfill these criteria on the ground.

ICAO should also agree its own negative list, to provide a clear means of implementing the proposed quality criteria. The ICAO GMBM should not accept the following project types:

  • fossil fuel power plants
  • nuclear facilities
  • hydroelectric power production project activities with a generating capacity exceeding 20MW
  • projects in the land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sectors with the exception of peat land rewetting that is not exposed to the non-permanence risks of other LULUCF project types
  • projects involving the destruction of trifluoromethane (HFC-23) and nitrous oxide (N2O) from adipic acid production
  • projects for geological CO2 capture and sequestration
  • projects that do not have sustainable development co-benefits or do harm


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