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WWF: ICAO Forgoes Immediate Emissions Reductions for Promise of a Future Global Plan

MONTREAL – Delegates to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) today promised to start work on developing a global, market based measure (MBM) to reduce aviation emissions beginning in 2020, but in doing so missed the opportunity to start reducing emissions immediately, says World Wildlife Fund.

“The world has waited 16 years for ICAO to demonstrate its serious commitment to reducing aviation emissions,” said Jean Leston, transport policy officer of WWF-UK. “What we got today seems a very small return for that effort. We expect a lot more ambition and commitment from ICAO over the next three years if a global, market-based measure is ever going to materialize.”

“While ICAO delegates and the airline industry will be crowing about the significant progress they have made this week, the reality is that today’s decision does nothing to reduce emissions in the short term,” added Leston. “By essentially restricting the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS) for aviation to its own carriers and airspace, ICAO has handicapped the world's leading legislation to put a price on aviation pollution and once again allowed skyrocketing emissions to continue climbing.”

“Today’s decision commits countries only to the possibility of agreeing to a global MBM by 2016. Many details are still up in the air, magnifying the need for the US to take a leading role as ICAO begins to define what the specific global measure looks like,” said Brad Schallert, senior program officer for international climate change policy of WWF-US. “These discussions provide the Obama administration the opportunity to show the world just how ambitious the US will be in tackling climate change at the international level.”

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