Thursday, May 23, 2013

Progess is Slow in ICAO Emissions Talks

A report from Reuters last weekend indicated that ICAO-led discussions do not appear to be on track to resolve the question of how to regulate international aviation carbon emissions by this fall as hoped. It's long been understood that a plan is unlikely to be voted on and adopted this year, but it was hoped that ICAO members would have at least coalesced around a single recommendation. Such progress would likely be enough that EU officials would delay reinstatement of the EU ETS to international air carriers. But Reuters' analysis suggests that unless considerably more progress is made during the second half of this year, the EU is likely to be unimpressed with the state of talks and forced to make a difficult decision whether to extend its one year moratorium. A USA Today story earlier today suggests that EU officials are aware they may have to settle for less progress than initially hoped, conceding that there is unlikely to be a vote on a proposal before the 2016 ICAO Assembly.

According to Reuters, the U.S. is pushing for a scheme that places each State in charge of regulation over its own airspace. This approach would align with the traditional delineation of regulatory responsibilities under international aviation law and address the most prominent concerns raised by the EU's partially extraterritorial approach. Such a solution would be a blow to those hoping for a cross-border precedent upon which future climate change regulations could be based.

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