1.1. What is ICAO?
A specialized agency of the United Nations,
the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was created in 1944 to
promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation
throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation
safety, security and facilitation, capacity and efficiency, economic
development and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities. The
Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil
aviation among its 191 Member States.
1.2. What is the contribution of
aviation to climate change?
Aviation (both international and domestic
operations) is estimated to be responsible for approximately two percent (2%)
of global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is one of the
greenhouse gases responsible for causing global warming and climate change.
International operations account for approximately 65% of total aviation
emissions, and net annual CO2 emissions from international
operations were 448 Mt in 2010. Aviation has consistently invested in better
aircraft technology and the improvement in efficiency of air transport
operations. Significant technological progress has been made in the aviation
sector, with aircraft produced today being about 80 per cent more fuel efficient
per passenger kilometre than in the 1960s. Total aviation emissions, however,
are forecasted to grow in the coming decades. Projected total annual
improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency of the order of 1–2% are expected to
be largely surpassed by traffic growth of around 5% each year, leading to a
projected increase in emissions of 3–4% per year.
1.3. What is ICAO doing to address
aviation’s impacts on climate change?
Environmental Protection is one of the
strategic objectives of ICAO. Work in this area has been undertaken by ICAO
since the late 1960s, first focusing on the establishment of international
policies and standards related to aircraft noise, but gradually expanding to
other subject areas such as local air quality and climate change.
In October 2013, the 38th session of the ICAO
Assembly adopted Resolution A38-18, which constitutes the consolidated
statement of continuing ICAO policies and practices related to climate change.
Under this Resolution, the ICAO Assembly resolved that ICAO and its Member
States with relevant organizations would work together to strive to achieve a
collective medium term global aspirational goal of keeping the global net CO2
emissions from international aviation from 2020 at the same level (so-called
“carbon neutral growth from 2020”). The
Assembly also defined a basket of measures designed to help achieve ICAO’s
global aspirational goals. This basket includes: aircraft technology;
operational improvements; sustainable alternative fuels; and market-based measures
(MBM). MBMs are one of the measures in the basket of measures that can respond
quickly to the need for emissions reductions.
1.4. What is a “market-based measure”?
An market-based measure (MBM) is a policy
tool that is designed to achieve environmental goals at a lower cost and in a
more flexible manner than traditional regulatory measures. Examples of MBMs
include levies, emissions trading systems, and offsetting.
1.5. Why is ICAO developing a global
Following a decision of the 38th Assembly, ICAO
is developing a global MBM as part of a basket of measures for addressing the
contribution of international aviation to climate change. Measures other than a
global MBM include aircraft technology (e.g. winglets), operational
improvements (e.g. improved air traffic management) and sustainable alternative
fuels. The aggregate environmental benefit achieved by these other measures,
however, will be insufficient for the sector to reach its aspirational goal of
carbon-neutral growth from 2020. An MBM is the cost-effective and complementary
way for international aviation to meet its aspirational goal as part of the
basket of measures.
2. Schedule for developing a global MBM
for international aviation
2.1. What is the schedule for developing
a global MBM?
Under Resolution A38-18, the ICAO Assembly
requested the Council (a governing body responsible to the ICAO Assembly), with
the support of ICAO Member States, to conduct work and to report the results of
this work for decision at the next 39th session of the ICAO Assembly, which is
scheduled to be held from 27 September to 7 October 2016. Within this mandate,
the Council will:
a) finalize the work on the technical
aspects, environmental and economic impacts and modalities of the possible
options for a global MBM scheme, including on its feasibility and
practicability, taking into account the need for development of international
aviation, the proposal of the aviation industry and other international
developments, as appropriate, and without prejudice to the negotiations under
b) organize seminars, workshops on a global
scheme for international aviation participated by officials and experts of
Member States as well as relevant organizations;
c) identify the major issues and problems,
including for Member States, and make a recommendation on a global MBM scheme
that appropriately addresses them and key design elements, including a means to
take into account special circumstances and respective capabilities, and the
mechanisms for the implementation of the scheme from 2020 as part of a basket
of measures which also include technologies, operational improvements and
sustainable alternative fuels to achieve ICAO’s global aspirational goals.
2.2. What has been achieved since the
adoption of Resolution A38-18?
Since the adoption of Resolution A38-18 in
October 2013, ICAO has actively engaged with its Member States and relevant
organizations in the development of a global MBM scheme. The Council has
established the Environment Advisory Group (EAG), which is composed of 17
Council Representatives, taking into account geographical representation, as
well as representatives from invited organizations. The EAG, under the
direction of the Council, is overseeing all the work related to the development
of a global MBM scheme and, based on the results of its deliberations, makes
recommendations to the Council.
The EAG is supported in its technical and
analytical work by the Council’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection
(CAEP), which is a technical committee responsible for environmental matters.
To date, a series of analyses requested by
the EAG and the Council on the impacts of different approaches for a global MBM
design have been undertaken by CAEP. Work on technical aspects of the global MBM
(e.g. monitoring, reporting and verification; emissions units criteria and
registries) has also been undertaken by CAEP to make recommendations to the tenth
meeting of the CAEP in February 2016.
2.3. What is the role of the GLADs in
the development of a global MBM?
The Global Aviation Dialogues (GLADs) are
the response to the ICAO Assembly’s request in Resolution A38-18 for the
Council to organize seminars and workshops on a global scheme for international
aviation. They aim to allow for well-informed deliberations on a global MBM
scheme at the next 39th session of the ICAO Assembly from 27 September to 7 October 2016.
The GLADs are a forum for information and
exchange of ideas, rather than a forum for decision-making. The main objective
of the GLADs is to reach out to those States that are not directly engaged in
the Council, the EAG or the CAEP in order to facilitate information and
2.4. How many GLADs will there be?
The first round of five GLADs was held in 5
venues across the ICAO regions was organized throughout April 2015. Total of
362 participants from 79 different States and 22 different International
Organizations participated in the first round of GLADs.
Second round of GLADs are being organized from 20 March to 8 April 2016. GLADs will be
held in Cairo, Dakar, Indonesia, Netherlands and Mexico
3. Design of a global MBM for
3.1. What is the goal of a global MBM?
The goal of a global MBM is, as part of a
basket of mitigation measures, to help international aviation achieve its
aspirational goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onwards.
3.2. How will a global MBM work?
Under the current discussion in ICAO, the
level of international aviation emissions in 2020 represents the basis for
carbon neutral growth from 2020, against which emissions in future years are
compared. In any year after 2020 when international aviation emissions exceed
this baseline, this difference represents the sector’s obligation for that
year. This obligation is then distributed among aircraft operators, and each
operator will be responsible for addressing its share of this obligation.
How this obligation will be distributed
among aircraft operators, and how each operator may address its share of this
obligation, are the main matter being considered.
3.3. What are “adjustments and
Adjustments and exemptions refer to
possible design features of a global MBM that may be incorporated to address
particular circumstances of States or operators. Examples of adjustments and
exemptions might cover: fast growers (aircraft operators with a high emissions
growth rate); early movers (aircraft operators with high fuel efficiency); new
entrants (aircraft operators that commence an aviation activity falling within
the scope of a global MBM); exemptions for services to lowest emissions States;
and technical exemptions (operators with low CO2 emissions from international
aviation per year, aircraft with low Maximum Take Off Mass (MTOM),
humanitarian, medical and firefighting flights).
3.4. When would obligations under a
global MBM come into force?
Obligations for addressing emissions under
a global MBM are expected to come into force in 2021. Obligations in other
areas, such as monitoring, reporting and verifying emissions, may come into
force before this date.
4. Technical aspects of a global MBM for
4.1. Does a global MBM apply to domestic
No. A global MBM will apply only to
international flights. Emissions from domestic flights are within the authority
of the relevant country to address.
4.2. Which emissions are addressed in
the scope of a global MBM?
CO2 emissions are addressed in the scope of
a global MBM, accounted for in metric tonnes of CO2.
4.3. What is “MRV”?
The purpose of the monitoring, reporting
and verification (MRV) of emissions is to collect data on international
aviation emissions annually and compare emissions against the baseline level of
emissions. Components include the monitoring of fuel use and calculation of CO2
emissions, the reporting of emissions data as a basis for establishing the
annual obligation, and the verification of emissions data to ensure
completeness and avoid inaccuracies. A sub-group of the CAEP is currently
elaborating MRV procedures.
4.4. What are “emissions units
The global MBM scheme calls for
international aviation to address its emissions through the acquisition and
redemption of emissions units that represent emission reductions achieved
outside of international aviation. It is therefore essential that these
emissions units correspond to emission reductions with high environmental
integrity (e.g. they are real, permanent, additional and verified) and are not
being used for any other purpose. A sub-group of the CAEP is currently
elaborating criteria for the eligibility of emissions units.
4.5 What is “a registry”?
“Registry” refers to the institutional,
legal and operating infrastructure designed specifically to ensure
efficient and transparent recording of
emissions units, reportable emissions, compliance actions and to ensure
accountability and environmental integrity. A co-ordinated registry structure
design where different systems can “talk” with each other and have common
technology, rules, and operational processes is being discussed for the global
MBM. This option builds on the registries that already exist in a number of
States. A sub-group of the CAEP is currently working on design elements of a
co-ordinated registry structure.