Green Aviation News—ICAO progress and EDF calls out China, India and Russia

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Aviation became the first global sector to adopt global aspirational goals for CO2 emissions

Environmental Report documents progress

Environmental Defense Fund Criticizes China, India and Russia

During the 49th Triannual ICAO Assembly, the President of the Organization issues an Environmental Report. At the same time, the Environmental Defense Fund issued some piercing comments on CORSIA compliance.

The 300 page document touches on Aircraft Noise, Local Air Quality, Climate Change


Sustainable Aviation Fuels



Towards a Circular Economy, States Action Plans and Capacity-Building and Cooperation.


President of the International Civil Aviation Organization Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, summarized the lengthy document as follows:

In 2010, ICAO Member States gave a strong mandate and a roadmap to the Organization to act on climate change. International aviation became the first global sector to adopt global aspirational goals for CO2 emissions – two per cent fuel efficiency improvement annually, and carbon neutral growth from 2020 – and a “basket of measures” to progress towards these goals. In 2013, during the following session of the ICAO Assembly, commitment towards this climate change strategy was reaffirmed and enabled ICAO to take the necessary actions to realize the ambition set, through incentivizing innovative aircraft technologies, implementing more efficient operations, facilitating the use of sustainable alternative fuels, and creating a global market-based measure, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

The President emphasized the need for all Member States to adhere to their commitments.

The Environmental Defense Fund did what the head of a Member organization could not or would not—point out the failure of three of ICAO’s largest Members’ lackluster support

UN Aviation Agency Moves Forward on Climate Action, Despite Objections from China and Russia

Statement from Annie Petsonk, International Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund [contact]

The Assembly of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) today approved, by a solid majority, moving forward with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). It also committed itself to undertake the research needed to develop, by 2022, a roadmap for a long-term climate goal for international aviation. It took these steps despite objections by China, India and Russia to a study of options for a long-term target, and even though China reiterated its previous objection to the CORSIA goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020. 

“This Assembly moved CORSIA forward with the support of a broad majority of ICAO members. EDF will be watching to see that all airlines implement CORSIA with integrity, and we will press airlines and governments to put in place the declining limits on climate damaging emissions that are needed to make flying something that is compatible with Paris climate goals.


“Last Friday’s half a million-strong youth climate strike in Montreal disrupted business as usual at ICAO. The strike should be a wake-up call: ICAO needs to take urgent action to slow aviation’s climate impact. ICAO must heed this call.

“In the end, today’s plenary produced a bag of mixed results. While the General Assembly reaffirmed its previous policies to begin to address aviation’s climate impacts, it will need to do much more to chart the kind of course needed to avert dangerous lock-in of climate-damaging aviation infrastructure.

“Industry leaders recognize that the science behind Greta Thunberg’s “flygskam” movement calls into question the entire future of international aviation, but some governments seem determined not to grapple with this. We look to ICAO to get down to business developing real options for decarbonizing international aviation by 2050, noting that the three-year work program ICAO gave itself to develop a roadmap gives the flight-shame movement three years to mature into even more of a challenge to the business-as-usual approach to aviation’s future.”



  • Annie Petsonk, International Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund









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