ICAO Update: 39th Assembly Agrees ‘Historic Deal’

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The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) concluded their latest triennial assembly last week by announcing an ‘historic deal’ to control carbon emissions produced by commercial aircraft.

I posted a series of blog posts on the ICAO before the 39th assembly began which you can find here:

1. Climate Consensus: Failure by Incompetence or Design? – Part One
2. Climate Consensus: Failure by Incompetence or Design? – Part Two
3. Climate Consensus: Failure by Incompetence or Design? – Part Three

Here are some of the main points that emanate from the ‘deal’:

The Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) released a statement on October 6th expressing caution by saying,

In the same week that the Paris Agreement crosses its crucial threshold to enter into force, countries sent a worrying signal by deleting key provisions for the aviation agreement that would align its ambitions with the Paris Agreement’s aim of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees with best efforts to not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Tim Johnson, who is Aviation Environment Federation Director and the lead representative of The International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), said,

This international effort falls well short of the effort required to bring UK aviation emissions in line with the Climate Change Act.

Parts of the agreement troubling the AEF include:

  • The GMBM (global market-based measure) falls short of the goals of carbon neutral growth from 2020, Paris Agreement goals, and the industry goal of halving emissions from 2050.
  • A lack of public commitment that insists offsets and alternative fuels credited under the GMBM must have high environmental integrity.
  • No explicit text mandating that emissions reductions are not double counted.
  • Lack of clear provisions on ensuring transparency of the process for finalizing the GMBM

Lexology also provided detailed analysis of the agreement:

ICAO has agreed that the GMBM will take the form of a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (referred to in the ICAO Resolution as the “CORSIA”).

Unlike the ‘cap and trade’ approach of the Aviation EU ETS, this scheme will oblige airlines to offset their emissions, but not necessarily (or indeed at all) to reduce them at source.

An interesting inclusion to Lexology’s verdict was this:

The scheme will only apply to CO2, not other emissions such as NOx and particulates, and will operate on the basis of a three-year compliance cycle.

This gives a free pass for Geoengineering by way of commercial aviation to continue unabated and without oversight.

Lexology also went into detail regarding the EU’s emissions trading system (EU ETS):

Intra-EU flights are currently caught by the Aviation EU ETS and this is unlikely to change in the short to medium term as a result of the outcome of the passing of the ICAO Resolution.

This means that all aircraft operators (including operators registered outside the EU) undertaking intra-EU flights will continue to be required to comply with the Aviation EU ETS and surrender sufficient allowances during each compliance period to cover those intra-EU flights.

Extra-EU flights are not currently caught by the Aviation EU ETS because of the “stop the clock” temporary derogation that came into place in 2012.

As things currently stand, however, this derogation will automatically cease from 1 January 2017, meaning that extra-EU flights would from that date be caught by the Aviation EU ETS and treated in the same way as intra-EU flights unless further legislative measures were taken to continue their exclusion.

Whether the EU introduces legislation to extend the stop the clock derogation beyond 2016 will depend on the EU’s reaction to the outcome of the ICAO’s 39th Assembly (ICAO 39).

An ICAO assembly would not be complete without the added ingredient of Geo-political tension. Given the scale of mainstream media propaganda towards Russia at the moment, it is no surprise that they are not on board with the ICAO’s latest attempt at an agreement.

Green Air Online reported with the following:

With Qatar announcing its intention towards the end of Assembly to join from the start, it now leaves Russia, India and Saudi Arabia as the only countries with a share of international aviation activity (expressed in RTKs) above 1% of the global total that have yet to declare.

Russia, India and Saudi Arabia, along with Argentina and Venezuela announced during the plenary that they would file reservations, or objections, against the carbon-neutral growth from 2020 (CNG2020) goal of the CORSIA scheme. They argued it was inconsistent with the Paris Agreement and had the potential to inhibit the growth of aviation in developing countries. China also said it would file a similar reservation over the goal and offered little open support for the scheme during the Assembly but is still considered to be an early participant, following a statement it made with the United States after a joint meeting last month.

Russia has not closed the door entirely on eventually volunteering to become part of the deal:

Despite long-standing opposition to a market-based measure based on carbon offsetting, Russia left the door open when its chief delegate to the Assembly told the plenary that although it was not yet in a position to express its participation, “it doesn’t mean we won’t take part in future.” It remains highly unlikely that India will change its opposition to joining the voluntary phases, at least in the short term.

So we are led to believe that after 25 years of the ICAO having failed in their duty to control and reduce carbon emissions, that this agreement is the beginning of a new dawn.

The fact that only CO2 levels are being measured in determining success of this deal trashes the very notion that emissions can be curtailed. CO2 is not the main problem. The emissions causing the damage are the particulates in jet fuel and those being additionally sprayed from the backs of aircraft to modify the planet through climate engineering.

The fight goes on to expose the willful damage being inflicted on our environment and the health of citizens, who remain unaware of the crimes being perpetrated in the sky.

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