Late last month, executives gathered in London for the Aviation Carbon 2013 summit. A few themes developed from this summit. Among the themes was that any adopted carbon emissions offset program must show a verifiable difference to the health of the environment, and that any carbon emissions offset program must be simple to join. Discussion also concentrated on the International Civil Aviation Organization's (“ICAO”) meeting in September 2013. As we reported earlier in this blog, in November 2012 the European Union suspended the inclusion of the non-EU aircraft industry in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (“EU-ETS”) for one year until ICAO had an opportunity to develop a global consensus on a plan to reduce emissions. The September meeting of ICAO's High-Level Group on International Aviation and Climate Change is that opportunity.
The working group is reviewing at least three market-based mechanisms: (No. 1) a carbon emissions offset program that requires the funding of projects that reduce carbon emissions; (No. 2) a carbon emissions offset program similar to that proposed in No. 1, but with an additional revenue mechanism, most likely a tax; and (No. 3) a global carbon emissions cap-and-trade system. It has been reported by news outlets after the Aviation Carbon 2013 summit that the mechanism showing the most promise is No. 1, which will require participants to engage in carbon offset projects such as those that support renewable energy, promote reforestation, avoid deforestation, and boost energy efficiency. If the working group fails to come to a consensus, then we could see a stand-off again between the EU and the non-EU aircraft industry on this controversial measure.
As this issue progresses, please check back to this blog for future posts.