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Aviation Emissions Agreement at Risk: More Countries Need to Join in Final Push

MONTREAL – UN negotiations on a new agreement to control emissions from international aviation are on a razor's edge in Montreal, as governments discuss whether to open up the proposed draft agreement for further changes, which could put the outcome of the talks at risk.

Because negotiators finalizing the Paris Agreement held off on addressing emissions from international aviation which fall outside of countries’ domestic emissions targets, the world now is looking to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the UN’s civil aviation body, to deliver a strong agreement to address the rapidly-growing emissions from this sector.

“In Paris, world leaders put great faith into ICAO to deliver emissions reductions from international aviation. Global aviation needs to step up and agree to a plan that matches the demands of science,” said Lou Leonard, WWF's senior vice president of climate & energy. “Without broad participation, the proposed deal represents a low bar for an international climate agreement.”

So far 63 countries have opted to join ICAO’s emissions reductions plan. “The clock is ticking; the best way to strengthen the deal at this point is the added benefit of additional countries opting in,” Leonard said.

Estimates show that current participation by countries who have opted in to the voluntary phase will only cover an estimated 72-73 per cent of international aviation’s expected CO2 emissions growth between 2021 and 2035. This falls short of ICAO’s own target of carbon neutral growth from 2020.

“To move closer to International Civil Aviation Organization’s own target, there must be greater participation from countries representing all regions of the world, including Latin America,” said Roberto Troya, WWF’s regional director of Latin America. “Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica have already demonstrated climate leadership by opting in to the early phase. Now we are looking to the major regional aviation players like Argentina and Brazil. Opting in would be consistent with their commitment to limit warming to 1.5°C. WWF encourages these and all countries to opt in.”

Notes to Editors
WWF is a member of the International Coalition on Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), the only environmental observer organization representing civil society at ICAO.