Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: none

European Commission - Fact Sheet

MEMO: 39th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation

Brussels, 7 October 2016

The tri-annual Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), met between 27 September and 7 October 2016 at ICAO's headquarters in Montreal.

What are the main takeaways of the 39th ICAO Assembly?

The Assembly agreed to the following points:

  1. The establishment of a Global Market Based Measure (GMBM) to offset international aviation CO2 emissions.
  2. The prevention of risks arising from conflict zones
  3. The interaction between national, regional and global rules on drones
  4. The adoption of a CO2 standard for aircraft emissions
  5. Progress towards sustainable global air transport
  1. GLOBAL MARKET-BASED MEASURE (GMBM)

What is the issue?

The global aviation industry currently accounts for around 2% of all human-induced CO2 emissions but, in view of projected growth in traffic, these emissions are expected to increase fast and are set to rise by almost 300% over the next decades, unless adequate action is taken. The objective of developing a GMBM was agreed in the ICAO Assembly in 2013, but became even more imperative after the signal sent by the international community with the adoption of the Paris Agreement last year.

What happened at the Assembly?

On 7 October, the ICAO Assembly adopted a Resolution for the establishment of Global Market Based Measure to offset CO2 emissions from international aviation and contribute to the carbon neutral growth of the sector from 2020 onwards. This is the first-ever agreement to address CO2 emissions in a global sector of the economy. ICAO will now have to follow up on the Assembly Resolution and lay down the detailed technical rules which will be the basis for all participating States to make the necessary rules to put the system in place at national level.

How will the GMBM work in practice?

The Global Market-Based Measure will compensate for the CO2 emissions generated by international aviation activities above 2020 levels. This should enable carbon neutral growth over time. In other words, an increase of emissions above the set level must be offset. The emitter (airline) would need to buy and surrender "emission units" generated by projects in other sectors that will reduce CO2 emissions.

The GMBM in practice

When will the GMBM start to operate?

During the pilot phase and Phase I (2021-2026), participation of states will be on a voluntary basis. Routes between 65 states that have already announced that they will opt-in from the beginning of Phase I will be covered. Participation of states in the GMBM will become mandatory in Phase II (as of 2027). Exemptions will then apply for some states (small islands developing states, least developed countries, land-locked developing countries and states representing a small share of aviation activities).

However, this is a system based on the aviation market size, not on the number of participants around the world. By representing a big portion of the market, the countries opting in from Phase I potentially cover 80% of all international aviation emissions.

GMBM coverage

What are the 65 States that will participate in Phase I?

These are: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada , China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States of America

Which states will remain exempted after 2027?

Exemptions are based on objective and commonly agreed criteria:

  • Small Islands Developing States, e.g. Cape Verde, Haiti or Tuvalu.
  • Least Developed Countries, e.g. Afghanistan, Burkina Faso or Myanmar.
  • Landlocked Developing Countries, e.g. Niger, Turkmenistan or Zimbabwe.
  • Countries with small aviation activities ('de minimis') e.g. Venezuela, Senegal, Lebanon or Pakistan.

However nothing precludes these countries to opt-in to the GMBM nonetheless.

Is the EU satisfied with the GMBM?

In line with its ambitious climate policy and the climate goals agreed under the Paris Agreement, the EU was always fully committed to reaching agreement on a robust and effective Global Market-Based Measure (GMBM) at the ICAO Assembly. This deal represents a positive first step forward to address international aviation emissions, which is imperative to keep the global temperature rise well-below 2 degrees Celsius as agreed in Paris. Now, the job is not over yet: key design elements will need to be developed, its environmental integrity fully secured, properly implemented and enhanced over time to make a meaningful contribution to climate change mitigation.

Assuming the above, the GMBM would achieve around 80% of carbon neutral growth. This means around 80% of the emissions above 2020 levels will be offset by the scheme between 2021 and 2035.

What is the consequence for the EU ETS aviation stop the clock?

The EU Emissions Trading System ("EU ETS") is the cornerstone of the EU climate policy. It is applicable since 2005 and aviation is included in its scope since 2012. However, in 2013, the scope was temporarily reduced to cover only intra-European flights in order to allow for a global agreement to be reached at ICAO ("stop the clock").

Following the agreement reached by the ICAO Assembly in Montreal on 6 October 2016, and in accordance with EU ETS legislation (Article 28a of Directive 2003/87/EC), the Commission will, in the coming months, report back to the European Parliament and the Council on the outcome of the Assembly. The Commission may, if appropriate, propose changes to the scope of the EU ETS for aviation, considering the necessary consistency with EU 2030 climate objective and policy. As Commissioner Bulc said, "The deal we have on the table is a good one – a good one for Europe - and a good one for world. It is in this spirit that we will move ahead".

What is the difference between the GMBM and the EU ETS?

While both are market-based measures addressing aviation emissions, there are some important differences between them. For instance, the EU ETS is a ‘cap and trade' scheme, which means that emissions cannot increase beyond a certain amount (cap). The GMBM on the other hand is an 'offsetting scheme' where emissions can grow without limit as far as they are compensated with offsets. The level of ambition (climate objective and associated baseline) and the type of units are other relevant differences.

  1. CONFLICT ZONES

What is the issue?

As illustrated with the tragic loss of the flight MH17 in 2014, one of the challenges civil aviation faces is the protection from the risks arising from conflict zones. This issue has an evident cross border dimension and cannot be effectively addressed by any States on its own. A need for action has therefore been recognised both at the European and global level, in the context of ICAO.

What are the main takeaways of the ICAO Assembly?

A joint position has been presented by Europe, Australia and Malaysia at the ICAO Assembly. It calls for the timely collection and rapid dissemination of information about conflict zones to ensure that airline operators are aware of the risks and avoid those zones. It also asks for States to take their responsibilities in the closure of their airspace because the safety of civil aviation operations could be endangered due to conflict zones. These proposals have been supported by the Assembly and will be implemented.

  1. DRONES

What is the issue?

The development of the drone industry has accelerated over recent years. To address this growing reality, a number of States have developed provisions regulating the use of drones. While most activities are likely to remain in a national airspace – and therefore outside of ICAO's remit - operations will eventually engage in international civil aviation. Action at global level will therefore be needed.

What initiatives have already been taken in Europe?

In the context of its Aviation Strategy, the Commission has proposed a framework to unleash the potential of drones on the EU market while ensuring the safety of operations. This framework should support innovation, boost the EU's economy and contribute to jobs creation in line with the Juncker Commission main priorities. The legislative proposal is currently being discussed by the European Parliament and the Council.

What are the main takeaways of the ICAO Assembly?

The need to act at global level was agreed as well as the importance of ensuring consistence between actions at global level and those taken at national or regional level, and to take into account actions already developed by States of group of States.

  1. CO2 STANDARD FOR AIRCRAFT EMISSIONS

What happened during the Assembly?

The Assembly formally endorsed the first ever CO2 standard for aircraft, after six years of international negotiations. By 2040, the CO2 standard could help save up to 650 million tonnes of CO₂.

How will the standard work in practice?

The stringency and applicability dates, which the CO2 standard imposes, will depend on the weight of the aircraft and whether it concerns a "new type" aircraft or an "in-production" aircraft. For large new aircraft types, the standard will apply from 2020. By 2028, existing aircraft types will also have to apply the new standard.

  1. SUSTAINABLE GLOBAL AIR TRANSPORT

What happened during the Assembly?

The Commission and ICAO signed a declaration of intent renewing their partnership to address climate change through financial assistance and capacity building projects. Through this partnership, the Commission will support the implementation of the GMBM in targeted states. The Assembly also reviewed the progress made with the assistance provided to States in implementing global air transport rules, notably in the context of the No Country Left Behind initiative.

More information

Statement by Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport

Press release: Commission welcomes landmark international agreement to curb aviation emissions

Infographics

The Resolution on the GMBM (ICAO Website)

MEMO/16/3332

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email


Side Bar