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15 August 2018
Due to technological advancements, today's aircrafts are more efficient than those manufactured in the past. Nevertheless, the aviation sector is among the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, which has given rise to environmental concerns over its global impact and effect on air quality, particularly at ground level. In an effort to tackle aviation's increasing contribution to climate change, international organisations – such as the United Nations and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) – are taking steps to reduce global aviation emissions and develop measures with worldwide effect.
A holistic assessment of the aviation industry's contribution to climate change, particularly global emissions issues, is contained in the Aviation and the Global Atmosphere report prepared and published in 1999 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in partnership with the Scientific Assessment Panel to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
The report states that aircraft:
In 1977 the ICAO issued Circular 134 on the Control of Aircraft Engine Emissions. The circular contains guidance in the form of a certification procedure for the control of vented fuel, smoke and certain gaseous emissions for new turbojet and turbofan engines intended for propulsion.
In August 2008 the ICAO held an air transport symposium on its aviation emissions activities in Abuja, Nigeria. Further, in October 2016 it implemented, by way of a resolution, a global market-based measure scheme for international aviation through the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) in order to stop the increase of international aviation emissions by 2020.
As provided under CORSIA, airlines must monitor their emissions on all international routes and offset emissions from routes included in the scheme by purchasing eligible emissions units generated by projects that reduce emissions in other sectors (eg, renewable energy). The ICAO has undertaken a project to develop the necessary implementation rules and tools to make the scheme operational. However, individual states will need to develop and enforce policies and measures for the realisation of CORSIA's objectives at the domestic level.
In developing policies and measures for the reduction of aircraft emissions, the European Union introduced the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).(1) The European Commission reported that the system has contributed to reducing the aviation sector's CO2 footprint by more than 17 million tonnes per year, with compliance covering over 99.5% of emissions.(2)
The ICAO has introduced a range of options to reduce the impact of aviation emissions, including:
Notably, both the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the ICAO have endorsed emissions trading as an effective way to reduce aircraft emissions.
For further information please contact Akinola Ogunsakin at George Etomi & Partners by telephone (+234 1 462 1660) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The George Etomi & Partners website can be accessed at www.geplaw.com.
(2) Available here.
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