UN agency seeks to end rift on new aircraft emission rules

Sun Feb 7, 2016 7:12pm EST
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By Allison Lampert and Valerie Volcovici

MONTREAL/WASHINGTON Feb 7 (Reuters) - Europe and the United States tried to bridge differences over emissions standards for aircraft on Sunday as global aviation leaders prepared to adopt new rules that could affect Boeing Co and Airbus Group's production of the largest jetliners and freighters.

Proposals being debated in Montreal by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations' aviation agency, would force makers of the world's largest passenger jets to upgrade or stop producing certain models as early as 2023, according to sources close to the negotiations and documents seen by Reuters.

U.S. and European negotiators are trying to come up with the world's first carbon dioxide emissions standards for aircraft as part of the industry's contribution to efforts to combat climate change.

Aviation was not included in the global climate deal agreed by a UN conference in Paris in December, but ICAO is trying to nail down the first of its two-part strategy as soon as Monday after six years of talks. It is due to finalize a market-based mechanism for all airlines later this year.

Differences remain on where to place the bar on efficiency, with the United States and Canada pushing for more stringent targets than the European Union, while environmental groups have accused Europe of dragging its feet.

"The CO2 standard will push industry to be as fuel-efficient as possible in all market conditions to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions and the impact of aviation on climate change," stated the Canadian paper presented at ICAO last week.

The proposals could revive pressure on European planemaker Airbus to upgrade the world's largest passenger jet, the A380 superjumbo, with new engines. Airbus recently examined that proposal to boost sales, but it has dropped down its list of priorities.

It could also spell the end for Boeing's struggling 747-8 passenger jet and freighter and force the U.S. planemaker to upgrade at least one of its two smaller freighters.   Continued...