Volume 33 (2008) / Issue 6
Under business–as–usual conditions, international aviation greenhouse gas emissions will grow substantially over the next twenty to thirty years. The realization of the likely trajectory of international aviation emissions has sparked debate about the future of aviation and the existing governance and policy structures. This article reviews the progress made on international aviation emissions abatement, provides an analysis of the reasons for the delay and outlines a proposal to advance the debate on how to impose carbon prices on emissions. The conclusion is reached that criticisms of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are, to some extent, unfounded. ICAO’s failings are a product of political differences between Member States on fundamental climate policy issues. These political problems are compounded by the fact that under existing international aviation law, there are restrictions on the rights of a State to unilaterally impose carbon pricing requirements on foreign aircraft. To overcome these problems, ICAO Member States should consider the imposition of an international aviation emission charge that is indexed to account for equity concerns and partially hypothecated to support land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) projects.
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