The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has reached its first “International Agreement to Reduce CO2 Emission in Aviation” by a majority of its Member States, including Spain, which will start to be implemented in 2021 and will initially be in place until 2035.
In general terms, the agreement represents restrictions on increased emissions by the global aviation industry as a whole as from 2020, such that, thenceforth, those airlines that exceed the emissions assigned to them must acquire equivalent emissions allowances from another company or establish certain compensatory initiatives.
The role of the Ministry of Public Works, through the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation and the State Air Security Agency (Spanish acronym: AESA), has been key in reaching this agreement, both in its preparatory stage and in the final negotiations.
By way of example, several of the most important meetings and conferences held on this issue during 2015 and 2016 have taken place in Spain upon initiatives from the Ministry of Public Works.
To implement the agreement, our country has signed an agreement with Latin American countries geared towards fostering cooperation in identifying and certifying environmental efficiency projects, as well as in creating a system to verify and register emissions.
Furthermore, through the ICAO, Spain will continue to contribute to the development of demanding methodologies for validation and certification so that the projects to reduce CO2 emissions applicable to aviation will be safe and reliable.
The importance of this can also be seen through those countries that contribute the most to global air transport, including the United States, China, the European Union, Australia and Japan, all signing and joining up voluntarily to implement this system.
The agreement has been sufficiently flexible so as to accommodate the sensitivities of developing countries, which advocated differentiated treatment thereunder so as not to prejudice their economic growth in the coming decades.
Similarly, airlines have welcomed the agreement reached, which guarantees environmental sustainability, avoids market distortions and guarantees legal certainty.