SECRETARY General of the African Airlines Associations (AFRAA), Dr. Elijah Chingosho, welcomed the landmark agreement to control carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from international aviation that was reached at the 39th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, Canada.Dr Elijah Chingosho stated that “We applaud this deal that was struck after tense negotiations during the last few years. The 191 states and the various stakeholders including AFRAA, AFCAC and IATA worked very hard through the ICAO system and managed to find the necessary compromises to establish the first sectorial deal to reduce CO2 at global level. African airlines, the aviation industry, other stakeholders as well as African institutions have been consistently advocating a global solution under ICAO’s leadership for several years”.
This is the world’s first climate deal aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions from international air travel. The deal was overwhelmingly approved on 06 October with 191 countries agreeing to a global market-based measure (GMBM) to control CO2 emissions from aviation.
The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) would complement a range of mitigation measures the air transport industry was already looking at to cut CO2 emissions which includes improved aircraft technology, efficient infrastructure, operational measures at airports and expanded use of sustainable alternative fuels.
The historic agreement is significant because the Paris Agreement, which was reached at last year’s COP21 summit, did not cover aviation and shipping. This is the first worldwide scheme to address emissions in any single sector. The agreement ensures that the aviation industry can meet its economic and social contributions in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The GMBM will start from 2021 on with a pilot phase until 2023. In the following year, there will be a voluntary first phase until 2026. From 2027 on, the measure will be mandatory for all States, with some exemptions, such as for least developed countries, small island developing states, landlocked developing countries and states with very low levels of international aviation activity which virtually covers almost all African states which advocated differentiated treatment.
It is heartening to note that those countries that contribute the most to global air transport, including the United States, China, the European Union, Australia and Japan have signed and joining up voluntarily to implement this system.