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Emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport (international bunker fuels)
 

Background

Emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport have been addressed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process since the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP). At its first meeting in 1995 (Berlin, Germany, March/April 1995), the COP requested the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) to address the issue of allocation and control of emissions from international bunker fuels and to report on this work to COP 2 (Decision pdf-icon 4/CP.1).

In response to this request, emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport have been continuously addressed under the SBSTA (more >>).
In addition the Kyoto Protocol addresses emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport in its Article 2, paragraph 2. Article 2.2 of the Kyoto Protocol states that the Parties included in Annex I shall pursue limitation or reduction of emissions of greenhouse gas emissions not controlled by the Montreal Protocol from aviation and marine bunker fuels, working through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), respectively.

In accordance with the IPCC Guidelines for the preparation of greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and the UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories, emissions from international aviation and maritime transport (also known as international bunker fuel emissions) should be calculated as part of the national GHG inventories of Parties, but should be excluded from national totals and reported separately. These emissions are not subject to the limitation and reduction commitments of Annex I Parties under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.

At its thirteenth session (Bali, Indonesia, December 2007), the COP instructed the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) to develop its work programme at its first session in a coherent and integrated manner, and invited Parties to submit to the secretariat their views regarding the work programme. International bunker fuels has been a subject of discussions under the AWG-LCA in the context of paragraph 1b(iv) of the Bali Action Plan, cooperative sectoral approaches and sector-specific actions. In this context, various options have been put forward for discussions by Parties (more>>).



Recent developments under the UNFCCC process
 
SBSTA

The SBSTA at its thirty-ninth meeting (Warsaw, Poland, November 2013), noted the information received from the secretariats of ICAO and IMO on their relevant work and invited them to report, at future sessions of the SBSTA, on the outcomes of their work on this issue (FCCC/SBSTA/2013/5, paragraphs 91–94).

The SBSTA at its thirty-eight meeting (Bonn, Germany, June 2013), noted the information received from the secretariats of ICAO and IMO on their relevant work and invited them to report, at future sessions of the SBSTA, on the outcomes of their work on this issue (FCCC/SBSTA/2013/3, paragraphs 125–128).

The SBSTA at its thirty-seventh meeting (Doha, Qatar, November/December 2012), noted the information received from the secretariats of ICAO and IMO on their relevant work and invited them to report, at future sessions of the SBSTA, on the outcomes of their work on this issue (FCCC/SBSTA/2012/5, paragraphs 93-96).

The SBSTA at its thirty-sixth meeting (Bonn, Germany, May 2012), noted the information received from the secretariats of ICAO and IMO on their relevant work and invited them to report, at future sessions of the SBSTA, on the outcomes of their work on this issue (FCCC/SBSTA/2012/2, paragraphs 82-85).

The SBSTA at its thirty-fifth meeting (Durban, South Africa, November/December 2011), noted the information received from the secretariats of ICAO and IMO on their relevant work and invited them to report, at future sessions of the SBSTA, on the outcomes of their work on this issue (FCCC/SBSTA/2011/5, paragraphs 58 - 60).

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AWG-LCA

At the second part of the fifteenth session of the AWG-LCA, Parties continued their work on cooperative sectoral approaches and sector-specific actions (agenda item 3biv). Throughout the meeting, Parties could not bridge their diverging views on how to address cooperative sectoral approaches and sector specific actions, including emissions from international aviation and maritime transport. The proposed compromise text by the chair of the AWG-LCA (FCCC/AWGLCA/2012/L.4) was rejected by Parties which is why the agenda item on sectoral approaches is not part of Decision 1/CP.18, the agreed outcome pursuant to the Bali Action Plan.

At the fifteenth session of the AWG-LCA (Bonn, Germany, May 2012), Parties continued their work on cooperative sectoral approaches and sector-specific actions (agenda item 3biv) on the basis of decision 2/CP.17, paragraphs 74 and 78, which includes the work on emissions from international bunker fuels. Work on this agenda item is captured in the pdf-icon report by the facilitator to the LCA Contact Group.

At the resumed fourteenth session of the AWG-LCA (AWG-LCA 14-4) in Durban (South Africa, November/December 2011) international bunker fuels was negotiated under AWG-LCA agenda item 3.2.4 (Sectoral approaches) together with a general framework for sectoral approaches and agriculture. The negotiations on emissions from international bunker fuels started on basis of the pdf-icon Facilitator’s note that included the options from the AWG-LCA 14-3 session in Panama. Parties could agree on a way forward for the AWG-LCA agenda item 3.2.4 and agreed to include a text on this agenda item in the pdf-icon Outcome of the work of the AWG-LCA (p.14, paragraphs 74-78). For international aviation and maritime transport, the Conference of the Parties agreed to continue its consideration of issues related to addressing emissions from international aviation and maritime transport (p. 14, paragraph 78).

During the third part of the fourteenth meeting of the AWG-LCA (Panama City, Panama, October 2011), Parties further elaborated on different options how to address emissions from international aviation and maritime transport under the UNFCCC process. Nine different options address are captured in the pdf-icon Facilitator’s note (166 kB) .

At the second part of the fourteenth meeting of the AWG-LCA (Bonn, Germany, June 2011), Parties agreed to address international bunker fuels under AWG-LCA agenda item 3.2.4 and brought forward six options on how to address emissions from international aviation and maritime transport under the UNFCCC process. These options are reflected in: ‘pdf-icon note by the facilitator (155 kB) ’.

At the first part of the fourteenth meeting of the AWG-LCA (Bangkok, Thailand, April 2011), Parties adopted an agenda according to the structure of the Bali Action Plan, which also included cooperative sectoral approaches and sector-specific actions under agenda item 3.2.4 (FCCC/AWGLCA/2011/L.1).

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Cooperation with ICAO and IMO
 
The COP with its decisions pdf-icon 4/CP.1, pdf-icon 18/CP.5, pdf-icon Article 2.2 of the Kyoto Protocol as well as the SBSTA with a number of decisions (more >>) are recognizing the important role of ICAO and IMO in limiting and reducing GHG emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport and highlight the importance of cooperation between ICAO, IMO and the UNFCCC secretariat.

The UNFCCC secretariat maintains close relations with the secretariats of ICAO and IMO. Cooperation between the three organizations is based on an efficient reciprocal exchange of information. The secretariats of ICAO and IMO have been continuously providing reports and information on relevant work to the SBSTA and organized several expert meetings to address methodological issues relating to the estimation, compilation and reporting of GHG emissions data from international aviation and maritime transport (more information provided by the secretariats of ICAO and IMO).

International Civil Aviation Organization
ICAO is the specialized agency of the United Nations to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection. Addressing climate change forms a vital element of the work of ICAO's Environment Branch (more on ICAO's activities to address global climate change).

International Maritime Organization
IMO is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) is IMO's senior technical body on marine pollution related matters. The limitation and reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping forms a vital element of the work of IMO's Marine Environment Division (more on IMO's activities to address global climate change).


Recent AWG-LCA Documents

pdf-icon Report by the facilitator
Report to the LCA Contact Group by the facilitator for agenda item 3biv (May 2012).

Decision 2/CP.17
Outcome of the work of the AWG-LCA (p.14, paragraphs 74-78) (December 2011).

 
Recent SBSTA Documents

FCCC/SBSTA/2012/MISC.20
Information relevant to emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport. Submissions from international organizations (November 2012).

FCCC/SBSTA/2012/MISC.7
Information relevant to emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport. Submissions from international organizations (May 2012).

FCCC/SBSTA/2011/MISC.9
Information relevant to emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport. Submissions from international organizations (November 2011).

 
Recent development under ICAO and IMO
Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI
Mandatory energy efficiency measures for international shipping adopted at IMO's MEPC 62 meeting (July 2011).

pdf-icon Assembly Resolution A37-19
A Consolidated Statement of continuing ICAO policies and practices related to climate change was adopted by the ICAO Assembly in October 2010.