Published on : Friday, June 29, 2018
The environmentalists call it a significant step, but they are wary about a change that they fear could slow down the wider use of bio-fuels.
The airline standards were approved Wednesday in Montreal by the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Under a 2016 agreement, the airlines that fly international routes are to begin measuring their emissions next January 1, 2019. Those measurements will be used to determine how much airlines need to offset the growth in emissions.
The aviation accounts only about 2 per cent of emissions linked to climate change, but its share is growing more rapidly than many other sources.
The UN group is deciding how to put into effect a plan called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA, that aims to freeze the level of carbon emissions from aviation at 2020 levels.
The airlines would be allowed to buy credits to offset their emissions, an approach that critics say would do little to improve the environment.
One of the most controversial issues under discussion in Montreal was a change in the definition of alternative fuels to include fossil fuels that are marginally cleaner than others.
The environmentalists worry that it could weaken momentum to use biofuels or develop electric-powered planes. Some European countries had expressed opposition to the change, but an airline group called the Air Transport Action Group said the UN group approved it. The production of aviation bio-fuels is tiny but is expected to grow.