Britain drafts COP26 deal on global aviation emissions
By Kate Abnett and Allison Lampert
BRUSSELS, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Britain is asking countries to push for a global target to cut aviation emissions to levels compatible with the Paris Agreement, under a deal due to be announced at the COP26 climate change summit, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.
As COP26 host, Britain is rallying countries to join an "International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition" and agree to push the United Nations' aviation agency to set a long-term target to reduce emissions from international flights.
Countries that sign the deal would commit to supporting the adoption by the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of an "ambitious long-term aspirational goal that is compatible with net-zero global emissions by 2050", the draft said.
The aim is to build momentum for ICAO to set tougher climate targets when its nearly 200 member countries meet in September 2022.
The Paris Agreement does not explicitly address international aviation emissions, but commits countries to limit global temperature increases to 2C this century and aim for 1.5C.
To meet the 1.5C goal, which would avoid the worst impacts of climate change, scientists say combined global CO2 emissions from all sectors would need to be reduced to net zero by 2050.
Montreal-based ICAO is facing pressure to toughen its climate goals. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres this month blasted the agency's plans as too weak and urged it to set "more ambitious and credible targets".
"Current commitments are not aligned with the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement. In fact, they are more consistent with warming way above 3 degrees," Guterres said, referring to both ICAO and the U.N shipping agency's climate aims.
ICAO sits at the centre of a global system of widely agreed norms, but is not a regulator in its own right.
The U.K.-led declaration would also commit countries to try to "strengthen" ICAO's flagship scheme for addressing international aviation emissions, known as CORSIA.
The U.K. government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
An ICAO spokesman said it "encourages all initiatives by states to enhance the sustainability of their aviation sectors".
The draft did not specify which countries would join the coalition, but it said the United States had been involved in the talks.
"A broad range of states in other world regions have been contacted to sign the declaration, with some positive responses," it said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation did not respond to a request for comment.
Global airlines agreed a net-zero 2050 goal in Boston earlier this month. But in what is widely seen as a dry run for efforts to reach a matching political deal at ICAO, China's state-owned airlines argued against the airline target.
"If Brazil, Russia, India or China signed on to it, that would be a very big deal," said a source familiar with the U.K.'s efforts, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It would make it far more likely to get a good deal at the (ICAO) assembly."
Officials from the 27 European Union countries will consider signing the declaration on Thursday. The European Commission could not immediately be reached for comment.
The so-called coalition is one of a set of deals Britain is trying to strike among clusters of countries at the U.N. climate summit, which runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Each one will address a key cause of planet-warming emissions - such as burning coal, or deforestation - and attempt to bring it in line with the deep emissions cuts needed to limit temperature increases to 1.5C.
Some campaigners said the draft aviation deal was a positive step, but warned that voluntary targets were no substitute for binding regulations to curb pollution from flights.
"A target doesn't mean anything if you don't have a policy to enforce it," said Transport & Environment aviation manager Jo Dardenne.
Gilles Dufrasne, policy officer at Carbon Market Watch, said the draft deal had "several good elements" but did not oblige countries to address international aviation in their national climate targets.
An ICAO target, while not binding, would aim to push governments to take action to clean up the sector, like funding the production of sustainable aviation fuels. Low-carbon fuels are seen as crucial to cut emissions from flights, but their uptake has been hampered by factors including sky-high costs.
Many countries do not include emissions from international flights in their national climate targets, although some are planning tougher policies.
The EU is negotiating proposals to end tax exemptions for jet fuel and force suppliers to blend low-carbon fuels into their kerosene. Britain has said it will start counting international aviation emissions in its national carbon budgets.
Reporting by Kate Abnett, Allison Lampert; additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici, William James; editing by Tim Hepher and Nick Macfie
Disclaimer: The XM Group entities provide execution-only service and access to our Online Trading Facility, permitting a person to view and/or use the content available on or via the website, is not intended to change or expand on this, nor does it change or expand on this. Such access and use are always subject to: (i) Terms and Conditions; (ii) Risk Warnings; and (iii) Full Disclaimer. Such content is therefore provided as no more than general information. Particularly, please be aware that the contents of our Online Trading Facility are neither a solicitation, nor an offer to enter any transactions on the financial markets. Trading on any financial market involves a significant level of risk to your capital.
All material published on our Online Trading Facility is intended for educational/informational purposes only, and does not contain – nor should it be considered as containing – financial, investment tax or trading advice and recommendations; or a record of our trading prices; or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instruments; or unsolicited financial promotions to you.
Any third-party content, as well as content prepared by XM, such as: opinions, news, research, analyses, prices and other information or links to third-party sites contained on this website are provided on an “as-is” basis, as general market commentary, and do not constitute investment advice. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, it would be considered as marketing communication under the relevant laws and regulations. Please ensure that you have read and understood our Notification on Non-Independent Investment. Research and Risk Warning concerning the foregoing information, which can be accessed here.