ICAO committee puts forth first global aviation CO2 standard

The environment committe of UN International Civil Aviation Organization unanimously recommended aircraft CO2 emissions standards applicable to new aircraft type designs as of 2020 and to new deliveries of current in-production aircraft types from 2023, ICAO announced on Monday (Feb. 8). A cut-off date of 2028 for production of aircraft that do not comply with the standard was also recommended.

The recommedation, reached to after six years of talks, must be approved by ICAO governing council this autumn. If agreed, it would become mandatory for national aviation authorities around the world.

According to the official release, in its current form the standard equitably acknowledges CO2 reductions arising from different technology innovations, whether structural, aerodynamic or propulsion-based.

“The goal of this process is ultimately to ensure that when the next generation of aircraft types enter service, there will be guaranteed reductions in international CO2 emissions,” Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the ICAO Council, stated. “Our sector presently accounts for under two percent of the world’s annual CO2 emissions, but we also recognize that the projected doubling of global passengers and flights by 2030 must be managed responsibly and sustainably.”

International aviation emissions were not covered in the Paris Agreement reached at COP21 in December 2015, and the next ICAO assembly to be held in Montreal this September is expected to agree on a global market-based mechanism to curb aviation emissions staring from 2020.

According to Reuters, estimates for carbon emission cuts resulting from the new proposed standards vary widely, from 650 to 300 million tonnes of CO2 emissions between 2020 and 2040. Environmental and advocacy groups siad the measure would have a marginal impact on emission reduction compared to the long-awaited market-based mechanism to be delivered this year.


(Image: miniature airport. Photo credit: disparkys/Flickr)