Jet builder Airbus offered its endorsement to a new global agreement on carbon offsets and reduction for civil aviation. The agreement was finalized by member nations at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal. The agreement sets targets for carbon emissions reductions, and established a “global market-based measures” (GBBM) program that consists of a voluntary, “pilot phase” from 2021 through 2023, followed by a voluntary, first phase from 2024 through 2026. The second phase from 2027 through 2035 will be mandatory.
“This is a crucial year for the global aviation community and ICAO,” stated Airbus president and CEO Fabrice Brégier. “Following the successful agreement of a CO2 certification standard for aircraft in February this year, the international carbon-offset plan is another key milestone in supporting the aviation industry's commitment in reducing CO2 emissions."
The GBBM agreement allows airlines to buy credits to offset emissions from individual flights. Alternative-energy installations, forest conservation programs, and other projects that prevent some level of new greenhouse gas emissions would be among the methods for airlines to earn the credits.
The ICAO is a United Nations agency assigned to codify principles and techniques for international air navigation, and to oversee planning and development of international air transport to promote safe and sensible expansion. There are 191 member nations.
Sixty-five ICAO member nations approved the agreement, and those nations account for 85% of all international commercial flights. Russia and India did not agree to program.
The endorsement of Airbus (and of rival Boeing Commercial Airplanes, earlier this year when ICAO recommended a new aircraft CO2 emissions certification standards for new, existing. and in-production aircraft designs) is important to establishing the efficacy of carbon-reduction technology for civilian aircraft. Virtually all of the new aircraft anticipated by the OEMs’ extensive bookings would be covered by the new standards.
In fact, the newest jet designs incorporate significant amounts of lightweight materials in engines and aerostructures, seeking to cut not only carbon emissions but also noise,
"Airbus is fully committed to all pillars of the industry's climate action plan through delivering the world’s most fuel efficient aircraft, supporting the deployment of operational improvements around the world and facilitating the wider adoption of sustainable alternative fuels," according to Brégier.