NBAA: Outcome of ICAO Emissions Debate Reflects Concerns Over European Approach

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360,

Washington, DC, Oct. 4, 2013 — The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today reported that a key meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) this week concluded with the advancement of a framework for international aviation emissions policies, which pivots from the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) in key ways.

“NBAA and its Members have always been strongly opposed to the EU-ETS, and other onerous and unnecessary fees, taxes and regulations that severely harm the industry and limit the economic benefits it provides,” NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said. “That’s why NBAA and other aviation industry stakeholders have fiercely opposed the EU-ETS.

“The approach to international emissions-policy development approved this week breaks decidedly from the EU-ETS,” Bolen continued. “Although far from perfect and certainly not everything we have worked for, it promotes an international dialogue that is focused on simple, more workable measures for addressing aircraft emissions – measures that can be built around various types and sizes of operators.”

The general principles regarding aircraft-emissions policy development, accepted by 185 ICAO member states today, were among a host of aviation-related proposals debated at the organization’s 38th Triennial Assembly, held in Montreal, Canada. The principles will now be the subject of working groups whose work product will be proposed for adoption in 2016, during ICAO’s next triennial meeting. If adopted at that meeting, the resulting document would then be implemented in 2020.

The principles include the following:

  • Calling on all governments to accelerate technology development, infrastructure modernization, and more efficient operational procedures. All states agreed that action in these areas provides the most promise for achieving long-term carbon emissions reductions in aviation, including development and deployment of sustainable alternative fuels.
  • Allowing for consideration of market-based mechanisms (MBMs) to provide incentives for emissions reduction. ICAO will seek to develop an MBM for international aviation over the next three years, taking into account the views of industry and providing harmonization for operators.
  • Incorporating administrative simplicity, and the potential for exemptions for small operators, into emissions policies. Governments agreed on the need for administrative simplicity in emissions policies generally, as well as the potential for exemptions for small operators.
  • Discouraging unilateral application of regional emissions-reduction schemes. Emissions schemes such as the EU-ETS attempt to advance a unilateral, regional dictate that does not promote harmonization, but instead sets a dangerous precedent for the creation of a patchwork of separate, distinct and potentially conflicting regulations. The framework adopted this week instead applies ICAO’s proven, 70-year tradition of utilizing consultations and negotiations between governments.
  • Seeking equitable treatment for all aviation industry segments. Carbon-trading schemes such as the EU-ETS have singled out business aviation for particularly onerous requirements. For example, airlines with limited flights to Europe qualify for exemptions from the scheme, yet business aviation is ineligible for such treatment. The framework advanced at this week’s ICAO meeting does not single out a particular aviation segment for punitive treatment.

“The business aviation community understands that environmental stewardship is an imperative, and we have a decades-long record of impressive and continuing emissions reductions,” Bolen said. “This success has been the result of industry investment, commitment and innovation — not an EU ETS style approach to emissions.

“The emissions-policy framework adopted at ICAO this week takes the debate on emissions in a more reasonable direction than the EU-ETS,” Bolen added. “As the details of the framework are ironed out over the next several years, NBAA will continue to forcefully represent the industry’s concerns.”

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 9,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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