International Civil Aviation Organization

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is the United Nations agency concerned with civil aviation. It represents the 190 member nations. ICAO was established under the Chicago Convention "in order that international civil aviation may be developed in a safe and orderly manner and that international air transport services may be established on the basis of equality of opportunity and operated soundly transport and economically".[1]

Environmental unit

ICAO states on its website that most of its environmental advocacy work is "primarily focused on aircraft noise and the impact of aircraft engine emissions."[2] In 2004, ICAO adopted as its environmental goals thta it would limit or reduce "the number of people affected by significant aircraft noise", "the impact of aviation emissions on local air quality" and "the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate."[3]

ICAO and climate change

Kyoto Protocol provisions

The Kyoto Protocol, which was negotiated in 1997, stated in Article 2, section 2 that:

"The Parties included in Annex I shall pursue limitation or reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol from aviation and marine bunker fuels, working through the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization, respectively."[4]

In a media release ICAO boasted that it had been recognized as "the global instrument for developed countries to pursue the limitation or reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation." While stating that it has been taking environmental issues seriously since the late 1960's, it claimed that incorporating aviation's greenhouse emissions into the agreement was too hard. Aviation, it explained, had been excluded "because of the difficulty in allocating them to specific countries. For example, which country should be responsible for emissions involving an airline from the Americas flying over the Middle East, between a country in Europe and another in Asia?"[5]

Defending ineffectiveness

At the Accra Climate Change Talks in August 2008, ICAO organized a side event at the conference defending its performance on mitigating climate change impacts from aviation emissions. At the event it hosted, ICAO had the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation discussing "how efficiency in the skies reduces GHG emissions", ICAO itself presenting the story of the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA) on the "role of technology" and the International Air Transport Association on "airlines as the focus of attention in the climate change debate".[6]

Oxfam International has proposed the introduction of an emissions trading scheme covering avciation emissions. However, it flagged that how such as a scheme would be administered was a potential complication as "the [[International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has resisted attempts to regulate emissions or to generate financing through the sector, and hence it seems unlikely that the body would enforce a global market-based system or levy."[7]

CAEP/7 Meeting

In February 2007, ICAO's Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) held its seventh meeting (CAEP/7). The meeting led to the definition of "mid- and long-term (10 and 20 years) technology goals for emissions of nitrogen oxides from jet engines" and "similar technology mid- and long-term goals for noise and engine fuel burn." CAEP also developed "guidance on local air quality for assessing and quantifying airport source emissions and guidance on emission levies related to local air quality consistent with ICAO policy." [8]

Position in COP15 Negotiations

At the Bonn Climate Change Talks in March 2009 ICOA announced that it would convene "a high-level meeting on aviation and climate change" for October 7-9 2009. Earth Negotiations Bulletin reported that ICAO claimed that "aviation could be the first sector to use alternative fuels on a global basis."[9]

ICAO submissions, reports and events on climate change


The Council of ICAO elected Roberto Kobeh González from Mexico as its President, beginning 1 August 2006. He has been re-elected on 19 November 2007 for a three-year term. The previous president was Assad Kotaite from Lebanon who held the position between 1976 and 2006.[10]

The current Secretary General of ICAO is Dr. Taïeb Chérif of Algeria, who has served in the role since August 2003.[11]

PR Consultants

The Canadian PR firm, Spitfire Public Relations, states on its website that it "performed a strategic review of communications and media relations at the International Civil Aviation Organization."[12]

Contact details


Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. International Civil Aviation Organization, Convention on International Civil Aviation", Ninth edition, 2006.
  2. International Civil Aviation Organization, "Environmental Unit", International Civil Aviation Organization website, accessed August 2008.
  3. International Civil Aviation Organization, "Climate Change", International Civil Aviation Organization website, accessed August 2008.
  4. "Kyoto Protocol To the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change", United Nations, 1998, page 3.
  5. International Civil Aviation Organization, "Kyoto Protocol Emphasizes ICAO's Role in Addressing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from International Aviation", International Civil Aviation Organization website, Media Release, December 12, 1997.
  6. International Civil Aviation Organization, "Aviation actions and initiatives on climate change", Media Release, August 23, 2008.
  7. Oxfam International, Turning Carbon into Gold: How the international community can finance climate change adaptation without breaking the bank, December 2008, pages 14. (Pdf)
  8. International Civil Aviation Organization, "2007 Annual Report of the Council," Doc 9898.
  9. "AWG-LCA 5 and AWG-KP 7 Highlights: March 30", Volume 12 Number 399, March 31, 2009.
  10. International Civil Aviation Organization, "Former Presidents of the Council", International Civil Aviation Organization website, accessed August 2008.
  11. International Civil Aviation Organization, Dr. Taieb Cherif - Secretary General of ICAO", International Civil Aviation Organization website, accessed August 2008.
  12. Spitfire Public Relations, "About Spitfire Public Relations", Spitfire Public Relations website, accessed April 2009.

External articles

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