At the end of their triennial assembly held in Montréal, the 193 member countries of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) made a commitment on Monday October 8th to reflect on a long-term objective to limit CO2 emissions from international flights, despite pushback from China and Russia.
However, they put off making a decision until their next meeting in 2022. The assembly passed a resolution that reaffirmed support in a 92-25 vote (and ten abstentions) for the implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), according to AFP.
China and Russia, backed by India, demanded a secret ballot on the motion. They believe that CORSIA penalises developing countries.
The move has been welcomed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and its member airlines, who aim to cut emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2050.
"Sustainability is critical to earning aviation's license to grow and spread its many economic and social benefits. Decarbonising the sector is a major challenge. Flying today is 17.3% more fuel efficient than a decade ago. From 2020—with the help of CORSIA—the sector's growth will be carbon neutral," said Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO at the IATA.
"The Europeans and in particular France ran up against a coalition led by China and Russia, which limited expected advances," France's Secretary of State for Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said in a statement.
Under CORSIA, airlines would have to stabilise their emissions from 2020. From 2021, they would have to purchase carbon credits to offset emissions exceeding these levels. Until the end of 2026, membership in the mechanism is voluntary.