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A great deal of progress has been made towards the creation of a CO2 certification standard for aircraft. Technical experts in Working Group 3 within the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection at ICAO are overseeing this work.
The Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection agreed to start the process during its eighth meeting in February of 2010. The Committee’s goal is to have a carbon emissions standard established by the end of 2013. This will be the first standard of its kind, and unlike current emission regulations – such as those aimed at limiting nitrogen oxide – the CO2 standard will be applied to the entire aircraft, not just engines.
To date, industry experts along with government and non-governmental organizations in WG3 have been engaged in the difficult task of measuring fuel efficiency. The group is finishing the first phase of this process and agreed to focus on a formula based on aircraft gross weight and cruise performance. Work will continue to refine this formula, incorporating different points in cruise that would best satisfy all stakeholder groups.
The next phase of the process is applicability, which will include drawing a stringency line dictating a fuel efficiency level above which future aircraft could not fall. The technical work conducted by the WG3 is critical; if the metric isn’t designed correctly or the stringency line is not drawn at a realistic level, it could have serious negative impacts on manufacturers and the entire industry.
Although the goal to have a metric selected at the last meeting of WG3 was not accomplished, significant progress was made and achieving a certification standard in 2013 may still be possible. The civil aviation industry is one of the few economic sectors with a coordinated, global approach to reducing emissions, which includes the goal of reaching carbon neutral growth from the year 2020.
AIA Source: leslie.riegle[at]aia-aerospace.org