UPDATE 2-UN aviation body reaches emissions deal, averts trade war

Fri Oct 4, 2013 2:53pm EDT
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By Valerie Volcovici

MONTREAL Oct 4 (Reuters) - The United Nations body in charge of civil aviation has reached a consensus on a market-based system to curb carbon emissions from airlines by 2020, but rejected a proposal to let Europe apply its own plan to foreign carriers in the meantime.

The final agreement, hammered out during two days of debates and talks on the sidelines at the International Civil Aviation Organization triennial meeting in Montreal, was ratified Friday.

It averted a looming global trade dispute over emissions in the aviation sector, which the International Air Transport Association forecasts will make $743 billion in revenues in 2014, up from $708 billion this year.

The resolution sets up steps the ICAO's 200 or so member states need to take between now and the next assembly in 2016.

Until then, many delegates will look back fondly on their time in Quebec's largest city. Talks were brightened by an average of three cocktail parties per night hosted by different countries, some of whom were angling to win a coveted seat on ICAO's 36-member governing council.

Diplomacy and good will were in full force during the first week, when representatives of countries at policy loggerheads clinked glasses of Singapore Slings, or chatted over plates of sushi, samosas and other national dishes.

Tensions mounted at the last minute when it appeared the long sought deal might not happen, but there was a breakthrough on Thursday when Europe made concessions.   Continued...