Historical archive

- No reason for international aviation and maritime transport to be excluded from a new climate regime

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher: Ministry of the Environment

Workshop on greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation and maritime transport, Oslo 4-5 October 2007

Workshop on greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation and maritime transport, Oslo 4-5 October 2007

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Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you all to Oslo to this workshop on greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation and maritime transport. Many of you have traveled a long way to get here, and I appreciate the effort you have made to take part in the meeting. I hope you will profit from the workshop and maybe also have some time to see more of Oslo and Norway.

The workshop is a product of collaboration: We arrange it together with the European Environment Agency, and representatives from EU-countries have contributed in the planning. I would like to thank the organizing team, and especially the EEA. I highly appreciate their invaluable contribution and tireless assistance. I would also like to thank Sweden, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom for their kind financial contribution.

I am pleased to have representatives from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change present here today. Three volumes of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report have been approved earlier this year. The report concludes that to keep the temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, global emissions of greenhouse gases must peak by 2015. Thereafter they must be reduced significantly: By 50-80 percent in 2050. That makes the political reality clear: There is an urgent need for new, binding agreements to ensure deep cuts in global emissions of greenhouse gases. All sectors must take part in the effort to achieve this. No sector should be exempt from action; then the goal will be out of reach.

Greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation and shipping are growing fast, faster than for all other sectors. Aviation emissions are clearly in the lead with 3-4 per cent growth per year. Taken together, these sectors represent about 5 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions. This may seem little. But if you look at sectors one by one, not many of them represent more than this percentage of the global total. And only four or five countries in the world have a share of more than five per cent.

Even so, international aviation and shipping are the only greenhouse gas emitting sectors which are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol. It is of great importance, therefore, to find a way to deal with these emissions in a global context. This has high priority for the Norwegian Government. We hope this is also important for Governments of other countries represented here. We find it necessary to include international aviation and maritime transport in the post 2012 climate regime under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. We see no reason for these sectors to again be excluded from the international framework on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol mentions emissions from international aviation and maritime transport: Annex I Parties should work through the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization to limit or reduce such emissions. 10 years have now passed since adoption of the Protocol. This issue has been on the agenda of the two organizations for 10 years. Norway regrets that in spite of this, the organizations have not agreed any regulatory framework or mechanism to reduce their impact on global warming.

Last Friday, the Assembly of ICAO adopted a resolution on limiting aviation’s impact on climate change. This resolution contains no concrete action for emission reductions, which is very regrettable. On the contrary, the resolution requests States to refrain from imposing unilateral charges on aviation emissions. And to refrain from implementing emissions trading schemes unless on the basis of a mutual agreement with other States involved. 42 European States, including the EU and Norway, found this unacceptable and submitted a formal reservation. We support that the EU will move ahead with their emissions trading scheme and include all flights departing and arriving in the EU. By that they demonstrate the leadership we need!

There were two main reasons why emissions from international aviation and maritime transport were excluded from the Kyoto Protocol in 1997: Lack of reliable emission data, and lack of an agreed approach for defining responsibility by country. We should not find ourselves in the same situation in 2009. My sincere hope is that this workshop will contribute to removing outstanding technical issues.

There is no time to lose. The progress of Annex I Parties in pursuing action in ICAO and IMO could be assessed by the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. This would be an advantage when discussing how these sectors may be included after 2012.

It should also be assessed how ICAO and IMO may contribute constructively in this process. We certainly need their expertise.

I have been told that the best international experts in this field are present. I certainly value this. And I ask all of you to please profit from that. Discuss and explore all aspects of the important questions that need to be resolved. Remove the technical barriers for including the growing emissions from aviation and shipping in a global framework. That would pave the ground for the political process: to ensure a limit to growth!

I wish you every success in this important task!