Carbon Market Watch: Crunch-time for aviation emissions

Flying is bad for the climate: Jet fuel emissions account for 5% of global GHG emissions. On top of that other air travel impacts, such as contrails and cirrus clouds also lead to significant warming. Aviation may therefore currently be responsible for up to 14% of man-made climate change. Most worryingly, air traffic emissions are rapidly rising.
Left unmitigated, international aviation and shipping emissions could take up about 30% of the 2° degree Celsius global emissions budget by 2050. The aviation sector must reduce its emissions if we are to achieve the 2° degree Celsius goal.
At this year’s ICAO (the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization) Assembly in September 2013, countries are supposed to agree on a Framework for market-based measures (MBMs) which could serve as an umbrella for national, regional or sectoral initiatives to address international aviation emissions. Countries are also discussing the feasibility of one global MBM.  But countries are far from agreeing how such a global MBM should look like. ICAO has narrowed its options to three approaches:
  • a global cap-and-trade scheme
  • mandatory offsetting with revenue generation which may be used for additional climate finance
  • mandatory offsetting without revenue generation
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