Canada has given its signature to the world’s maiden global agreement for tackling pollution within airline industry. The North American country signed it a day after it ratified the climate change accord in Paris. Marc Garneau, the transport minister, termed it as “historic agreement”. He said that his country has played a major role in the International Civil Aviation Organization or ICAO backrooms so that the maximum number of countries can be opted in. The ICAO is a Montreal headquartered organization. Critics, however, say that it is insufficient to tackle the issue of global warming. If all goes as planned, then 85 percent of the emitters in the world will participate in a kind of voluntary carbon-offset system starting in 2021. This will be the first worldwide system of carbon offset for any single industry.
The process will be done even as international and civil aviation flights will increase. These flights will be all carbon neutral after 2020 as per agreement with a certain market centric measure which needs airlines to purchase carbon credits.
According to Garneau, Canadian airlines have given their consent to the plan. Adoption of this plan, however, may lead to a rise in the airfares. Passengers may have to shell out an extra 1.5 percent for their tickets. He said that aviation companies in Canada and the airlines are all set to jump in the bandwagon. Garneau said that commercial airline travelers will also consent to pay the extra fare. This system will remain voluntary for the first few years (2021 to 2026) and then become a mandatory one for most of the countries starting from 2027.
Historic moment and disappointment
The Paris climate agreement excluded aviation. The latter passed the ratification threshold on October 6. This accord will be enforced from November 4. Canada is among a total of 191 signatories. Michael Gill of Air Transport Action Group termed it aviation’s “historic moment” for both climate and aviation negotiations. Gill is executive director of group. He said that what was once a visionary approach about seven years before is now a reality.
A few environmental groups, however, has expressed disappointment. They said that the agreement does not cover all the bases. The International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation released a statement saying that countries have deleted a number of important provisions which are in tandem with the aim of the Paris agreement of restricting the rise of global temperature to below two degrees and efforts made not to exceed the parameters of 1.5 degrees Celsius.