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Climate Action
News article4 October 2013Directorate-General for Climate Action

Commission welcomes UN agreement on aviation emissions

The European Commission today welcomed the agreement by the UN Assembly responsible for International Civil Aviation (ICAO) to decide on a global mechanism to tackle emissions from aviation.


The European Commission today welcomed the agreement by the UN Assembly responsible for International Civil Aviation (ICAO) to decide on a global mechanism to tackle emissions from aviation.

The Assembly has agreed to develop by 2016 a global market-based mechanism (MBM) to tackle emissions which can come into force in 2020. The MBM will be accompanied by a series of technical and operational measures to reduce emissions. With this deal, the aviation industry becomes the first international transport sector to apply a global MBM to reduce its emissions.

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "The EU's hard work has paid off. After so many years of talks, ICAO has finally agreed to the first-ever global deal to curb aviation emissions. If it hadn't been for the EU's hard work and determination, we wouldn't have got this decision today to create a global market-based measure."

She added: "What matters to us is that the aviation sector also contributes to our efforts to reduce emissions. While we would have liked more countries to accept our regional scheme, progress was made overall and we will now factor this in when, together with the member states and the European Parliament, we decide on the way forward with the EU ETS."

The agreement

The ICAO Assembly agreed to develop, by 2016, a global MBM for international aviation that can start in 2020. Until then countries or groups of countries should – within certain parameters – be able to deploy MBMs.

The market-based measures will go hand in hand with new procedures to promote more advanced technology, including the use of better alternative aviation fuels, and to promote better procedures, including in the area of air navigation.

The agreement also puts in place a fair and equitable solution that respects the special circumstances and respective capabilities of certain countries.

Aviation accounts for 3% of global CO2 emissions but ICAO statistics show that emissions from international aviation are forecast to increase four to six above 2010 levels by 2050.

Next steps

The European Commission, in coordination with the European Parliament and the EU member states, will now assess the ICAO decision in more detail before deciding on the next steps with respect to the EU emissions trading system.

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Publication date
4 October 2013
Directorate-General for Climate Action