Emissions Reductions as a Matter of Fairness

"Addressing emissions while respecting equity issues"

Scientists estimate that five percent of global CO2 emissions can be attributed to air traffic. Considering all the impacts on the climate caused by other greenhouse gas emissions, pollutants and cirrus clouds, it might even be up to 14 percent. With regard to the responsibility to be assumed, the international climate negotiations address questions of fairness between industrialised nations and countries of the South.

The position paper "International Aviation – Addressing emissions while respecting equity issues", published by Bread for the World in cooperation with Carbon Market Watch, looks at different compensation methods and financing mechanisms, such as including aviation emissions in international emissions trading systems, taxing kerosene, and an air passenger duty. Bunker emissions, i.e. emissions from aviation and shipping, are currently not included in international climate mitigation regulations. The efforts to date have not gone beyond a couple of insufficient measures, such as increasing fuel efficiency, the contentious use of agrofuels, or voluntary offsetting measures. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is currently negotiating options for a global market based mechanism (MBM) to reduce emissions.

Last year, the EU temporarily halted the inclusion of flights to non-European destinations into its own Emission Trading System in order to give the ICAO the possibility to negotiate and suggest an international regime. In order to achieve the target of keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius, the aviation sector will have to reduce its emissions significantly. According to the position paper, global market based mechanisms for emissions reduction must fulfil high environmental and social standards and guarantee actual emissions reductions. Funds generated by these mechanisms should be made available to developing countries for climate mitigation and adaptation activities.

International Aviation – Addressing emissions while respecting equity issues. Bread for the World, Berlin, 2013, 8 pages.

Download of the position paper:


(TW 72, September 2013)