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Mobility and Transport
News article6 October 2016Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport2 min read

Commission welcomes landmark deal to curb international aviation emissions

Commission welcomes landmark deal to curb international aviation emissions

The European Commission welcomes the landmark agreement reached today by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to curb CO2 emissions from international aviation.

European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said, "This unprecedented agreement opens a new chapter in international aviation, where sustainability finally becomes part of the way we fly. Europe has been continuously advocating global and coordinated action to address the growth of aviation emissions which was otherwise set to reach 300% by 2050. Today European solidarity and perseverance has delivered.

This is the first-ever global agreement to address CO2 emissions in a specific sector of the economy. From 2021, flights between 65 states – including all EU countries - will be covered by a Global Market-Based Measure (GMBM) to offset CO2 emissions. Others will come on-board during the mandatory phase in 2027.

Around 80% of the emissions above 2020 levels will be offset by the scheme between 2021 and 2035. It contains a strong review clause that will ensure that we are regularly given the chance to improve the GMBM and make it more robust and ambitious, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. This deal is a decisive step towards the carbon neutral growth of aviation. I hope that others will follow, particularly the shipping sector.

We have now set a process in motion, which will not be reversed. And yet, it is not 'Mission Accomplished'. Over the next two years, ICAO will lay out the technical rules of the GMBM, and we will remain vigilant that it lives up to our expectations and is well implemented. The EU will offer its financial and technical assistance, so that no country is left behind.

The Commission will soon present a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the outcome reached at ICAO, in the context of the EU Emissions Trading System for aviation."


The Paris Agreement will enter into force in November, following its ratification by the EU earlier this week. It however does not explicitly mention aviation and ICAO was tasked to address emissions in this sector.

On 6 October, the Assembly of ICAO passed a resolution which will create a Global Market-Based Measure through which airlines will offset the growth of their CO2 emissions post-2020. It will contribute towards achieving the goals set in the COP21 Paris Agreement. Headed by Commissioner Violeta Bulc, the European Union delegation played an instrumental role in brokering this agreement.

The EU aviation sector overall supports around 5 million jobs and contributes €110 billion to the EU GDP every year. Its future competitiveness goes hand-in-hand with greater environmental sustainability. Reducing aviation's environmental impacts is therefore a priority area of the Aviation Strategy for Europe adopted in December 2015. It is also part of the European Strategy for low-emission mobility adopted in July 2016. The implementation of the latter will be a priority in 2017 as President Juncker outlined in his state of the Union.


Publication date
6 October 2016
Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport