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Draft text for Paris climate talks calls for an aviation emissions target

20th February, 2015

The text that will form the basis for on-going negotiations leading up the Paris climate change talks calls for a global emissions reduction target for aviation and shipping. Support is also expressed for a levy to raise money from international aviation to support climate adaptation. The call for an aviation emissions target is being supported by countries in the EU and the Philippines.

The call for action on aviation emissions is welcome at a time when nations and other sectors are facing up to the climate change challenge of how to deliver a pathway of emissions reductions that will achieve the UN’s 2OC target. But if international aviation emissions are allowed to follow business as usual growth projections, they could account for a quarter of all emissions by 2050.

The prospect of UNFCCC discussing an emissions target for the sector should serve as a reminder to the UN’s aviation body, ICAO, that international aviation is expected to make an urgent and fair contribution to the 2oC target. An outcome that commits the sector to cutting emissions will be expected from the ICAO Assembly in 2016.

The inclusion of an aviation target comes in a week when the UK’s three main parties signed an agreement that they would seek to limit global temperatures from rising above the UN 2°C target to avoid dangerous climate change. Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg collectively pledged to try to deliver a “fair, strong, legally binding” global climate deal in Paris this December.

AEF is hoping that the three parties’ commitment to acting on climate change is echoed in the next Government’s transport policy. Decisions will be taken in the next Parliament on airport expansion and on whether to include emissions from international aviation and shipping in the UK’s carbon budgets , which ensure delivery of the Climate Change Act.

Image credit: Paul Russel via Flickr