Aircraft CO2 emissions standard edges closer

The introduction of an aircraft carbon dioxide CO2 emissions standard has come a step further at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
A new environmental measure was unanimously recommended by the 170 international experts on ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP), paving the way for its ultimate adoption by the UN agency’s 36 state governing council.
Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, president of the ICAO Council, said: “It is particularly encouraging that the CAEP’s recommendation today responds so directly to the aircraft technology improvements which states have forged consensus on at recent ICAO Assemblies.
“Every step taken in support of ICAO’s full basket of measures for environmental improvement is an important one, and I am sure the Council will be deeply appreciative of the this latest CAEP achievement.”
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator, Michael Huerta, said: "I am pleased that ICAO reached an international consensus on a meaningful standard to foster reduction in CO2 emissions from aircraft.
“We are encouraged by this success and believe it puts us on a promising path to secure a robust market-based measure later this year."
Under the CAEP recommendation, the CO2 Standard will apply to all new aircraft models launched after 2020. The standard will also be phased in for all existing aircraft types rolling off the production line from 2023, even if they were designed and launched prior to 2020.
A production cut-off date of 2028 has been recommended for any aircraft that do not comply with the CO2 Standard.
The standard will be reviewed periodically to increase its stringency in line with technological advancement. ICAO has a long track record of implementing similar standards in noise, safety, security and air navigation.
Once the CO2 Standard is formally adopted by the ICAO Council, it will be implemented by national civil aviation authorities around the world and will be part of the certification process that all new aircraft must meet before entering service.
Said ICAO: “In its current form the standard equitably acknowledges CO2 reductions arising from a range of possible technology innovations, whether structural, aerodynamic or propulsion-based.”
The proposed global standard is especially stringent where it will have the greatest impact: for larger aircraft. Operations of aircraft weighing over 60 tonnes account for more than 90% of international aviation emissions.
These larger aircraft also have access to the broadest range of emissions reduction technologies, which the standard recognises.
US plane maker Boeing said: “This standard represents more than six years of work by a group of international experts from ICAO member states, industry and non-governmental organisations.
"Boeing is fully committed to meeting the new CO2 emissions standard announced by ICAO. This agreement represents real progress beyond the substantial industry achievements already made to reduce aviation emissions, with more steps ahead.
“The new standard is ambitious and will become part of the certification process applied to every airplane before delivery based on the ICAO schedule.”
ICAO said that “great care” was taken by the CAEP to ensure that the proposed standard covers the full range of sizes and types of aircraft used in international aviation today: “Its solution therefore comprehensively encompasses all technological feasibility, emissions reduction potential, and cost considerations.”

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