Three-day talks on a deal to launch a market-based offsetting mechanism for international aviation emissions from 2020 wrapped up in Montreal Friday without any firm progress, with some nations even appearing to backtrack on a previous agreement by proposing a ‘pilot’ practice phase and a later start date.
The “high-level” negotiations at the headquarters of UN aviation body ICAO were one of the last opportunities to iron out key issues before a deal is due to be voted on at ICAO’s full assembly in October.
But two-and-a-half years spent poring over technical details has so far yielded little in the way of solid results, as this week’s session ended with governments failing to establish clear negotiating lines, including on the main issue of how to divide up offsetting responsibilities.
In response to the lack of progress, Singapore tabled a proposal for an “implementation phase” from 2020 to buy time to iron out the details and test infrastructure.
China also called for a pilot process, three sources at the talks said.
An EU source told Carbon Pulse that while the 28-nation bloc would welcome a pilot to test auditing rules and voluntary offsetting before 2020, it opposed any move that would delay the start of the global market-based measure beyond the beginning of the next decade.
That start date was agreed by ICAO’s assembly when it last met in 2013.
Environmental campaigners were appalled that the process appeared to be rolling back from the agreement to attain carbon-neutral growth, and that draft design plans that have emerged contain too many loopholes to adequately address the sector’s climate impact.