UN reaches deal on airline carbon emissions

UN reaches deal on airline carbon emissions

The United Nations has agreed on a framework to tackle the aviation industry's carbon emissions, in an unprecedented show of unity that has been welcomed by Singapore Airlines and other industry players.

After years of discord, the 191 member states of the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), including Singapore, reached a last-minute consensus at their triennial assembly in Montreal, Canada, which ended last Friday.

The UN agency has committed that from 2020, airlines will comply with a global market-based measure to cap the industry's aviation emissions.

Details of the scheme, including how carriers will be monitored and emissions data verified, will be discussed and finalised over the next few years. The final plan will be presented at the next ICAO Assembly in 2016.

SIA is "pleased" that headway has been made towards a global solution under which "all airlines are treated fairly", said spokesman Nicholas Ionides.

"This is one of our concerns with the European Union's Emissions Trading System scheme, which was being imposed unilaterally by the EU on international airlines, as it offered airlines operating through hubs closer to Europe an unfair advantage."

Under the EU's plan, announced in 2008, airlines will have to keep to a stipulated amount of carbon emissions or buy extra units from the carbon trading market.

As charges would be based on carbon emitted during the entire flight, instead of just over Europe, it penalises long-haul carriers like SIA.

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