The Aviation Global Deal (AGD) Group is an industry coalition that brings together leading international airlines, aviation sector companies and international NGO The Climate Group.

Our goal is to contribute towards a pragmatic, fair and effective policy solution that incorporates international aviation CO2 emissions into a new global climate change deal.

Aviation and a Global Deal

We recognise the urgent need to combat climate change. And we believe that the aviation sector can and must play a part in the next global agreement on climate change.

International aviation emissions are a global concern. They were left out of the Kyoto Protocol, due to the difficulties in assigning emissions to any specific country. Ongoing efforts to address our sectoral emissions since then have been largely unsuccessful.

That’s why we have formed the Aviation Global Deal Group. We are working together to develop a practical, business-led solution that helps contribute to global efforts to address climate change.

Guiding Principles

The AGD Group seeks to integrate the global aviation sector into the broader international climate change framework.

In February 2009 we released a communiqué identifying a set of core principles we believe should guide the development of a global sectoral agreement for aviation.

Specifically, a global deal for aviation must:

  • offer genuine environmental benefits;
  • be operationally and economically sound;
  • maintain competitiveness between airlines and avoid market distortion;
  • reflect the UN climate change principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ between countries with different levels of development;
  • balance the social and economic benefits of flying with the industry’s responsibility to cut global emissions and play its part in meeting ambitious climate change targets; and
  • reflect the work of ICAO’s Group on International Aviation and Climate Change (GIACC) and IATA’s strategy for reducing emissions.

Our Proposal

Based on these key principles the Group has developed a proposal which sets out the main design elements of a global sectoral agreement for international aviation. Specific elements include:

  • The international aviation sector is integrated within overall post-2012 global climate change agreement. All international airlines on all international routes are covered
  • Informed by recommendations from ICAO, an emission reduction target is set by the UNFCCC for the sector in-line with wider, global emission reduction targets
  • Aviation emission allowances are auctioned and also allocated to individual airlines by a central, independent authority (to be established)
  • Airlines are required to surrender allowances based on carbon content of fuels uplifted
  • Aviation allowances are fully fungible with other UN-backed allowances eg EUAs, CERs, ERUs etc, allowing for emissions trading to take place
  • Revenue from aviation allowance auctioning is used to support climate change initiatives in developing countries

The latest version of the AGD proposal can be downloaded here.

United industry position for Copenhagen

Working through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), governments took a step in the right direction toward a global sectoral deal for aviation when they met in Montreal early October.

Despite this welcome step, much ground still remains to be covered in achieving an effective and environmentally ambitious global deal for aviation.

Governments have so far agreed to:

  • Work together to achieve a global annual average fuel efficiency improvement of 2% to 2020,
  • Evaluate the possibility of more ambitious goals by the next ICAO Assembly in 2010,
  • Establish a process to develop a framework for economic measures
  • Encourage the development and use of sustainable biofuels.

A united position was presented by the entire aviation industry to the ICAO meeting, calling for a global sectoral approach to aviation with targets to cap net emissions from 2020 and reduce net emissions by 50% by 2050 relative to 2005.

Achieving an industry-wide position on reducing net emissions is a considerable achievement and sends a strong signal that the industry is determined to do its part in achieving global emissions cuts.

Looking forward to Copenhagen, there are 4 key objectives:

  1. Agreement that aviation emissions should be addressed at a sectoral rather than national level
  2. Establishing ambitious emissions reduction targets
  3. Reconciliation of the UNFCCC CBDR and ICAO non-discrimination principles
  4. Clear mandate for ICAO to develop the details by November 2010

Governments should not use taxes or levies as mechanisms for addressing aviation emissions. These provide little or no environmental benefit. Instead governments should commit to integrate the entire sector in a global cap and trade system with open access to carbon markets.

The Aviation Global Deal Group will continue to contribute to industry work in developing environmentally ambitious solutions for the aviation sector.

Next Steps

The AGD Group seeks to support the work of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation as it prepares for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

We look forward to contributing towards this process and the broader UN climate change negotiations by continuing to engage with other international carriers, industry groups, governments and other stakeholders to develop and build support for the principles and draft proposal outlined above.

Comments and views on the AGD Group’s proposal are warmly welcomed (see the sidebar for Contact Details).