ICAO Committee agrees on path forward to limit aviation emissions, but U.S. leadership will be critical to delivering results

October 3, 2013
Annie Petsonk, +1-202-365-3237
Jennifer Andreassen, +1-202-288-4867, jandreassen@edf.org

(MONTREAL/ WASHINGTON – Oct. 3, 2013)  U.S.-based Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today commended the Executive Committee of the General Assembly of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for agreeing by 2016 to a roadmap to place a global limit on carbon pollution from aviation, but criticized ICAO’s attempts to restrict individual countries’ ability to put in place their own measures to limit aviation emissions in the interim.

“On one hand, ICAO has opened a door to the possibility of a future global cap on these emissions and an array of programs – including a market-based measure sought by both the industry and the environmental community – to ensure that the cap is met,” said EDF International Counsel Annie Petsonk. “But a bedrock principle of international law is that nations have the sovereign right to limit pollution emitted in their borders. So ICAO took half a step backward with its attempt to narrow the ambit for countries to implement their own market-based measures to cap and cut the burgeoning global warming pollution from international aviation.” 

“The U.S. will need to step up its leadership in ICAO to ensure real results for the climate,” said Petsonk. “A firm cap on aviation emissions is urgently needed if the world is to avert the kind of catastrophic climate shifts that will prove so damaging to communities, companies and air travel in the coming years.”

“President Obama has laid out a compelling vision for America to take a leading international role on climate change. What happens in ICAO will be a key test of that vision.”

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