EU officials have defended a global deal on aviation emissions.
The deal was struck at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN agency, in Montreal on Thursday.
It contains global emissions-reduction scheme that will apply to passenger and cargo flights that generate more than 10,000 tonnes of annual greenhouse gases.
But MEPs and NGOs say the UN-backed agreement is unambitious. The terms will be voluntary until 2027 and a binding CO2 reduction target – a key demand of green campaigners – is not included.
“We have now set a process in motion and there will be no U-turns with 65 states now signed up to participate from the beginning of the scheme, this agreement has achieved around 80 percent of carbon neutral growth,” Violeta Bulc, European transport commissioner, told reporters in Brussels on Friday.
“We also have 18 out of 20 biggest aviation nations on board from the start,” she added.
This deal comes after years of disagreement over how to reduce greenhouse gases from the aviation sector.
Rather than face a cap or pay a fine, airlines will offset any increase in emissions through schemes, such as tree planting.
But environmental groups say that it doesn’t go far enough.
“Aviation emissions are the fastest growing source of greenhouse emissions in the world. And their emissions are set to quadruple in the coming decade, meaning that it will take up a quarter of the remaining carbon budget in 2050,” said Femke De Jong, EU policy director, Carbon Market Watch
“So these emissions urgently need to be addressed. So the deal agreed yesterday is a first step to actually regulating these emissions. However it is not sufficient to limit global warming levels that are considered safe.”
The accord will be effective from 2021.
This agreement comes after a UN climate deal was ratified by the EU, which will enter into force November 4.