MONTREAL - ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) concluded its 12th meeting yesterday, making substantial progress on aviation environmental sustainability.
Key results were achieved on the long-term aspirational goal (LTAG) for international aviation, new global standards and guidance to support continuous implementation of ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), and on technical aspects of the sustainability of aviation fuels.
The meeting was opened by Salvatore Sciacchitano, President of the Council of ICAO, who stressed to the over 300 experts that “the 41st Assembly to be held late this year will be a defining moment for the aviation sector, and CAEP’s excellent work and collective worldwide technical expertise are crucial to ICAO endeavours in the area of environmental protection, especially at this unique threshold of green transition and transformation to a new normal.”
The CAEP is a technical body convened by the ICAO Council, and all the technical recommendations agreed by it will subsequently be considered by the Council for official approval.
The CAEP/12 meeting unanimously adopted its technical report on the feasibility of a set of LTAG scenarios, highlighting the potential for substantial CO2 reductions through the use of in-sector measures including innovative airframes, technologies, operations, and fuels.
Its report foresees the largest overall CO2 reductions by 2050 coming from from fuels and clean energy sources, with decreases in greenhouse gas emissions of up to 55% projected. New technology, including advanced traditional and new unconventional airframe configurations were also expected to contribute to efficiency of up to 21%, as well as improvements in flight performance of up to 11% through innovations such as formation flying.
With the firm scientific basis on climate change now established, and the results of this LTAG report in hand, ICAO has the basis to further elaborate on international aviation sustainability goal options for consideration by the LTAG High-level Meeting (July 2022) and the 41st Session of the Assembly (27 Sep –14 Oct 2022).
Major step forward on Sustainable and Lower Carbon Aviation Fuels
On the topic of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), the CAEP agreed on amendments to life-cycle emissions reduction values, in addition to a sustainability certification framework. The meeting also agreed on new guidance to States on potential policies and approaches for the deployment of SAF.
On the topic of Low Carbon Aviation Fuels (LCAF), CAEP reached a landmark agreement on the LCAF methodology as a basis for calculating life-cycle emissions reduction values, while also approving the guidance for LCAF sustainability criteria.
Both developments will facilitate the progress and deployment of SAF and LCAF to help reduce CO2 emissions from international flights, including under CORSIA.
CORSIA implementation and 2022 periodic review
In addition to the technical recommendations related to SAF and LCAF as part of the CORSIA implementation framework, the CAEP updated a series of technical analyses to support a 2022 CORSIA periodic review.
These included updating the impacts of COVID-19 on the CO2 emissions recovery scenarios, the associated costs to States and aircraft operators, as well as the assessment of possible market-distortions, to support the Council’s work on the 2022 CORSIA periodic review.
The CAEP/12 meeting also developed a number of important technical recommendations on the amendments to Volumes I (Aircraft Noise), II (Engine Emissions), III (Aeroplane CO2 emissions) and IV (CORSIA) of Annex 16 to the Chicago Convention, ensuring that the Standards are up to date for use by ICAO Member States.
The Committee continued its work on Supersonic Transport Aircraft (SST), adopting the results of an Exploratory Study to better understand the environmental impacts resulting from the introduction of supersonic aircraft, while not prejudging the need for future SST environmental standards.
Important agreements were reached relating to Airports and Operations, including on a new ICAO Manual on “Operational Opportunities to Reduce Aircraft Noise”, and the first global vertical flight efficiency (VFE) study for the climb and descent phases was also completed.
As part of ICAO’s eco-airport toolkit collection, e-publications were developed in the areas of Climate Resilience, Water Management, Air Quality Management and Sustainable Surface Access.
Regarding climate change adaptation, the meeting approved guidance material on risk assessment and adaptation and resilience planning, which aims to provide more information to States, and specifically to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other potentially highly vulnerable States and organizations.