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EU Welcomes Landmark Aviation Industry CO2 Deal

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

10 October 2016

On October 6, 2016, a new global market-based measure to control carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation was agreed by government, industry, and civil society representatives.

The landmark deal was agreed at the Plenary Session of the UN aviation agency's 39th Assembly.

Welcoming the deal, the European Commission said this is the first-ever agreement to reduce CO2 emissions in a global sector.

The Commission said the agreement foresees the establishment of a Global Market-Based Measure (GMBM), which will oblige airlines to offset the growth of their CO2 emissions post-2020.

To do so, airlines will buy "emission units" generated by projects reducing CO2 emissions in other sectors of the economy (for example, renewable energies). In its first phase (2021-2026), 65 countries will participate on a voluntary basis. All EU member states will join from the start. Participating countries include 18 out of the top 20 states with the largest international civil aviation activity. In its second phase (2027-2035) participation is mandatory, except for those exempted (countries with small aviation activities). This means around 80 percent of the emissions above 2020 levels will be offset by the scheme between 2021 and 2035.

EU Vice-President for the Energy Union, Maros Sefcovic, said, "Yesterday's agreement at the ICAO Assembly is a historic milestone. I am happy to see that EU's commitment and perseverance to find a global solution bears fruit. We are mobilizing all our policies towards the competitive, circular, and low-carbon economy, as promised in the Energy Union Strategy."

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "This unprecedented agreement opens a new chapter in international aviation, where sustainability finally becomes part of the way we fly. Europe has been continuously advocating global and coordinated action to address the growth of aviation emissions which was otherwise set to reach 300 percent by 2050. Today European solidarity and perseverance has delivered, allowing us to make a decisive step towards the carbon neutral growth of aviation."

TAGS: environment | Energy | tax | law | aviation | environmental tax | European Union (EU) | Europe

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