EU steps forward towards Aviation CO2 Emissions Reductions Targets
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The European Commission published its first Environmental report on European aviation as the result of a close collaboration between the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), EUROCONTROL and the European Environment Agency (EEA).
This report is divided into several sections including an overview of the aviation sector in Europe, technology and design (on aircraft noise and aircraft engine emissions as well as future standards and the Clean Sky Research Programme), sustainable alternative fuels, air traffic management and operations.
Some of the conclusions reached by the Commission are that the number of environmental challenges for the aviation industry will drastically increase within the next 20 years due to an exponential growth in traffic. A section of the report emphasizes that the best way to achieve a market-based emission reduction system is at an international level since the current EU ETS only covers intra-European flights.
On a broader perspective, a major step forward was achieved with the agreement on the first-ever standards for aircraft CO2 emissions. The deal will affect all new aircraft models launched after 2020 and all existing aircraft built from 2023, with a cut-off date of 2028 for planes that do not comply with the new standard. Minimum standards will require brand new designs with over 60 metric tons to meet a stringency requirement of 8.5 on a 1-10 scale from 2020. The standards metric will be based on fuel consumption per square meter of cabin space multiplied by kilometers flown.
While this agreement is pending for approval, the EU would like to use the political momentum to strike an agreement on Global Market-Based Measure to offset CO2 emissions from International aviation at the upcoming ICAO plenary session. According to ICAO’s research, even with these efficiency standards, total CO2 emissions from aviation are likely to increase, and will be seven times higher in 2050 than in 1990.
In that regard, the European Commission launched on 7th March - ahead of the 39th ICAO Assembly in September 2016 - a new public consultation regarding the proposed global market-based measure (GMBM) and its compatibility with the EU ETS scheme.
The consultation will run until end of May. The EU expects this session of the Assembly to adopt the key design elements of a GMBM that allows the ICAO goal of stabilising net CO2 emissions from international aviation at 2020 levels to be met and to establish a clear roadmap for an effective implementation from 2020.
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