ECO is heartened to see that language on emissions from ships and planes is back in the negotiating text. If these sectors are left out of the Paris agreement, they have emissions that are not only large enough but, also growing fast enough to undermine global efforts to stay below 1.5°C.
In the words of one developing country active on the issue, these emissions have the potential to create major loopholes in the global emissions limitations and environmental integrity. Under a 1.5°C scenario they could count for up to 42% of allowable emissions.
Left to their own devices, the UN bodies regulating these sectors, the IMO and ICAO, show little willingness to seriously tackle GHG emissions. The IMO refuses to even think of a cap and ICAO is happy with the idea of offsetting emission increases after 2020. Both industries show little concern for the climate needs of the developing world.
The Paris agreement needs to address this issue explicitly and send a clear message to IMO and ICAO: now is the time to start reducing your sectoral emissions.
Well, not quite. But the co-chairs’ text removes any obligation for international aviation and shipping to set an emissions target. These sectors have CO2 emissions equal to the UK and Germany respectively. Moreover these sectors are set to grow by up to 300% by 2050, which would greatly undermine efforts to limit a temperature increase to 1.5°C. International aviation and shipping shouldn’t escape simply because their emissions aren’t assigned to a country.
Even worse is how this text also drops any reference to using these sectors as a source of climate finance. Both sectors get their fuel tax-free, and will continue to be major drivers of climate change. The final agreement should require the two UN agencies that regulate these sectors—ICAO for aviation and IMO for shipping—to set targets and introduce measures compatible with a 1.5°C objective and identify these sectors as potential sources of climate finance.
Countries big and small are coming forward with their targets, so let’s not ignore these two huge and growing drivers of climate change.
Delegates, are you also hoping that soon you’ll be able to come to Bonn in super-efficient aircraft, helping to solve the problem of emissions from international aviation? ECO is guessing that the answer is a resounding: “Yes!”
Unless we take action now, that scenario is looking less and less likely. A report this week from the International Council on Clean Transportation has found that fuel-burn efficiency improvements for new aircraft have fallen to 1.1% per year, against the industry target of 2% per year. With passenger numbers increasing every year, aviation emissions are expected to grow by up to 300% by 2050. Yes, you read that right. This would be a huge blow to our efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) needs to step up its climate efforts. Parties to ICAO must adopt a meaningful CO2 standard for new aircraft—incredibly, none currently exist—and agree to a market-based mechanism to close the remaining gap between aircraft efficiency and passenger growth.
The situation is also dire with international shipping. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is refusing to set an emissions target at all.
The transport sector needs to get moving on mitigation. The wording in Part III of the co-chairs’ tool on ICAO and IMO taking action to reduce emissions needs to be firmly placed in the agreement. Otherwise these sectors risk undermining other efforts to reduce emissions.
Did you have a safe flight into Bonn? Even if there were no complaints and your flight was uneventful, ECO doesn’t doubt that delegates would have preferred a plane that emits less GHG, uses the best energy saving technologies and generates funds to support the most vulnerable among us. Delegates, you’re in luck—this could be made possible this week through supporting the text that asks the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to have shipping and aviation do their fair share on climate action. The sector could also contribute to climate action by having ICAO’s new Market Based Mechanism designate a share of the proceeds towards efforts on adaptation and loss and damage. No sector can be left out, as the LDCs and the EU have noted in their support for action on international transport emissions. Now it is up to the Parties here to call on the aviation and shipping industry to do their part.