The Paris climate agreement text has now dropped mention of international aviation and shipping. The weak statement that has been removed only said that parties might “pursue the limitation or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions” through ICAO “with a view to agreeing concrete measures addressing these emissions, including developing procedures for incorporating emissions from international aviation and marine bunker fuels into low-emission development strategies.” Even that has gone, so there is no ambition for CO2 regulation. Transport & Environment (T&E) says this has fatally undermined the prospects of keeping global warming below 2°C. The CO2 emissions of these two sectors amount to about 8% of emissions globally. In recent years their emissions have grown twice as fast as the those of the global economy – an 80% rise in CO2 output from aviation and shipping between 1990 and 2010, versus 40% growth in CO2 emissions from global economic activity. Their CO2 is projected to rise by up to 270% in 2050. They could be 39% of global CO2 emissions by 2050 if left unregulated. After 18 years of being supposed to come up with measures to tackle aviation emissions, ICAO has done almost nothing – and little is expected of it. .
Excluding aviation and shipping emissions from COP deal makes 2°C limit close to impossible
From T&E (Transport & Environment) 9.12.2015
The dropping of international aviation and shipping emissions from the draft Paris climate agreement published this afternoon has fatally undermined the prospects of keeping global warming below 2°C, green NGOs Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment (T&E) have said.
As the emissions from these two sectors uniquely fall outside national reduction targets, they require an explicit reference in the agreement.
If treated as countries, global aviation and shipping would both make the list of top 10 emitters.
In recent years their emissions have grown twice as fast as the those of the global economy – an 80% rise in CO2 output from aviation and shipping between 1990 and 2010, versus 40% growth in CO2 emissions from global economic activity – and they are projected to grow by up to 270% in 2050. [See Professor Bows-Larkin link below].
The Kyoto Protocol tasked the UN agencies that regulate these sectors, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), to develop measures to tackle their emissions.
Now, 18 years on, these agencies have failed to do so, and rapid emissions growth from these sectors is set to make a 1.5/2°C target almost impossible to achieve.
Andrew Murphy, policy officer at T&E, said: “The dropping of international aviation and shipping emissions from the draft Paris climate agreement makes keeping a temperature increase under 2 degrees close to impossible. Those parties calling for an ambitious agreement must insist that language on international transport be reinserted.”
Aviation accounts for about 5% of global warming, and CO2 from shipping is about 3% of the global total. Both sectors are among the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gases at a global level and could be responsible for 39% of world CO2 emissions in 2050 if left unregulated, according to a scientific study published last month by the European Parliament.
John Maggs, senior policy advisor at Seas At Risk, said: “History may now judge aviation and shipping as industries that, while the rest of the world moved forward at COP21, sat on the sidelines and refused to contribute.”
The UK government is keen to say that aviation carbon emissions will all be dealt with at the international level, and so UK airport expansion is possible – it will all work out fine.
The Paris agreement fails even to include mention of international aviation, or to put any pressure on ICAO to get on with developing an international mechanism for regulating aviation carbon emissions.
That will mean there is even less likelihood of a proposal or plan by ICAO to take effective measures to deal with aviation carbon emissions. This government cannot depend on it, to take care, painlessly, of growing aviation CO2 – particularly not from an extra runway, which will only increase overall UK carbon emissions.