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A global system to regulate runaway greenhouse gas emissions from aviation is technically and economically feasible and could help address climate change, according to a new WWF report.
The report comes ahead of a critical meeting of the High Level Group established by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal this week, where governments will attempt to revive a decade-long effort to address aviation emissions.
Aviation is the most emission-intensive form of transport on the planet and, together with shipping, is the fastest growing source of carbon emissions contributing to climate instability and extreme weather.
Aviation Report: Market Based Mechanisms to Curb Greenhouse Gas emissions from International Aviation outlines four options, and weighs their pros and cons, to develop a global system to regulate emissions from aircraft.
These include offsetting, offsetting with a revenue generating mechanism, a cap and trade emissions trading system, and a levy with offsetting.
The report finds that the latter three options can both cut pollution at the least cost to industry, and also generate funds that could be used to support global efforts to address climate change, while maintaining a level playing field between airlines.
“We invite governments to end 10 years of delay and reach a global deal on aviation. That deal is within reach and it would limit emissions and ensure that the sector pays its way in global efforts to address climate change and the extreme weather it is causing,” says Samantha Smith, leader of the WWF’s Global Climate & Energy Initiative.
In the absence of such an agreement in ICAO this year aviation pollution will continue to rise and contribute to dangerous climate instability, she says. In addition, airlines will face a growing patchwork of international regulations, including under the EU-ETS, where all flights into and out of the EU were to be included this year. The inclusion was only suspended for one year to give time for ICAO to present a solution.
A multilateral agreement under ICAO remains the best way to address emissions from international aviation fairly. “There has never been a more opportune time to do something about this. We just need the political will and courage to make a global market-based measure happen,” says Smith.