Progress on cutting aviation emissions is hampered by supply concerns, but shipping is navigating even trickier waters
There was some hard lobbying for shipping and aviation to be brought into the scope of the Paris climate agreement in 2015. Their carbon emissions grew at double the rate of other sectors between 1990 and 2010, and without radical action there is a danger they will hoover up much of the global carbon budget “permitted” under the Paris Agreement. But failure to agree who is responsible for emissions released by ships and aircraft into international spaces means there are still no binding targets.
Action outside of the UN process has been painfully slow. But last year, the UN’s aviation agency, ICAO, finally managed to get a deal for a carbon offsetting and reduction scheme that will peg emissions to 2020 levels.
Offsets ‘not the answer’
Stefano de Clara, international policy director of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), explains that to get everyone on board, ICAO agreed a voluntary phase from 2020-2026. “But a lot of countries did opt in so 87% of emissions will be covered from the start.” The rules have yet to be ironed out: “Will airlines go for the cheapest offsets available or will the supply chain create additional pressure to do more?”