Aviation sector to compensate CO2 emissions with effect from 2020

The international aviation sector will be compensating the increase in CO2 emissions with effect from 2020. This was agreed today in Montreal, during the triennial meeting of the UN Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). This makes the aviation sector the first to set down specific worldwide agreements on the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Ms Dijksma, Minister for the Environment: ‘The Paris climate treaty, although historic, did not feature any agreements specifically aimed at aviation. Yet following Paris we now have Montreal: as from today, the aviation sector can no longer beat about the bush. The world has seized its opportunity and adopted a system in which aviation takes its share of responsibility.’

The aviation sector currently accounts for some 2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. In the years ahead, aviation will see a huge growth: flight volumes are expected to double within the next twenty years. Under the agreements set down today, compensation of the additional CO2 emissions will be addressed, for example, by having airlines pay for CO2 emissions by purchasing emission units that are released in other sectors, or by investing in climate projects promoting sustainable energy.

All the major aviation countries, such as the US, China and the European countries, along with a large number of African and Asian countries, Australia, and New Zealand will participate right from the start. The agreement is currently endorsed by a total of 65 countries, that together will compensate approx. 80 percent of the expected increase in emissions between 2021 and 2035. Other countries are expected to follow suit voluntarily; subsequently, the system will be binding on all member states, save some developing countries without any significant aviation sector.

Minister Dijksma: 'This agreement marks an important step. We now have a basis which is acceptable to almost the entire world. Of course, I would rather have had all countries participate from the onset, but we can expand the system we have now set up, and continue to raise our ambitions in the years ahead.’

The new system is part of a total set of measures with which the aviation sector aims to reduce and compensate its emissions. Other measures include the use of innovative technologies in the design of aeroplanes and engines, the use of sustainable fuels, and boosting flight efficiency by flying shorter routes or changing landing procedures, thus cutting back fuel consumption. The aggregate measures must lead to a 50 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 over 2005.