The world got one step closer to closing one of the biggest remaining climate regulatory loopholes. U.N. panel proposed the first-ever greenhouse gas emissions measures for commercial aircraft. Leaders of the global aviation industry, including big names like Boeing and JetBlue, are taking a big step forward to address climate change. At a meeting of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, aviation experts have reached an agreement marking the first step towards the adoption of long sought-after carbon emissions norms for civil aircraft.
The planned measure, which wraps up six years of negotiations, would apply to new aircraft models from 2020. The standards have been in development for more than five years and include developing more fuel efficient aircraft designs. The recommendation foresees that “the new CO2 emissions standard would not only be applicable to new aircraft type designs as of 2020, but also to new deliveries of current in-production aircraft types from 2023. “A cut-off date of 2028 for production of aircraft that do not comply with the standard was also recommended,” the statement said. The new norm for carbon emissions will depend on the aircraft’s weight. “The goal of this process is ultimately to ensure that when the next generation of aircraft types enter service, there will be guaranteed reductions in international CO2 emissions,” ICAO governing council president, Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, said in the statement.
Air travel is one of the world’s biggest contributors to climate change. The rules, which still have to be formally adopted by an ICAO committee, would be the first ever to impose binding energy efficiency and carbon dioxide reduction targets for the aviation sector. Commercial aircraft currently contribute 11 percent of the world’s transportation emissions of carbon dioxide, but that number is expected to nearly triple by 2050. The White House projects that the new standards will reduce carbon emissions by more than 650 million tons between 2020 and 2040, or the equivalent of removing more than 140 million cars from the road for a year.