ICAO adopts emissions agreement

On October 7, 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the UN’s civil aviation body, adopted an agreement to control emissions from international aviation. This represents the world's first limitation on greenhouse gas emissions from the rapidly growing aviation sector.

This is momentous for our project developer and retail partners because the deal’s Global Market Based Mechanism establishes a carbon offsetting scheme that effectively creates a new future market for carbon credits. Our partners at WWK-UK advocated strongly for specification of credits that come with the highest environmental integrity and sustainable development impacts like those from Gold Standard projects. Refer to the recommendations in ‘Greener Skies?,’ the WWF UK-commissioned report by the Stockholm Environment Institute as well as ‘ICAO’S climate change measures and the SDGs’ by the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation, which highlights:
“Robust certification schemes, such as RSB for alternative fuels and Gold Standard (GS) for carbon offsets, can help ensure consistency of these measures with sustainable development objectives. For example, the Gold Standard Principles clearly distinguish between safeguards (“do no harm”) and benefits (“enhance sustainable development”). GS is currently revising its standard to “measure and certify impacts toward all the SDGs”, which may prove useful for ICAO in quantifying SDG benefits. This is in addition to the core foundation of safeguards that “mitigate risk, maximise impact, and ensure the results intended.”
From WWF’s commentary on the ICAO accord:
“In the final hours of the before adoption of this deal, countries demonstrated that they understand the importance of high-quality carbon offsets. Lou Leonard: ‘Countries are signaling in this deal an understanding that not all carbon credits are created equal.’”
While many would have liked to see environmental integrity and sustainable development criteria agreed to at the political level, subsequent technical discussions will address these types of eligibility criteria. We will continue to work with WWF and other partners to influence a high level ambition that will meet that of the ‘well below 2 degree’ target of the Paris Agreement as well as the Sustainable Development agenda.
Find out more about ICAOs efforts to reduce, offset and meet the Global Goals in Change in Altitude: In a post-Paris world, aviation industry seeks sustainable growth>>
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