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The COP26 Declaration on Aviation

Kevan James

November 17, 2021.

One of the less well publicised results of the COP26 conference in Glasgow is a declaration from those states that signed it (including the UK) on the way forwards for aviation. Referring to themselves as the 'International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition', the nations to have signed the declaration significantly does not include China and Russia.

Given that - pre pandemic - China accounted for an ever-increasing number of flight domestically with Russia also operating a huge number of services within its borders, how effective the measures contained will be remains to be seen.

The full text and signatories:


We, the ministers and representatives of states, participating in the inaugural meeting of the International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Glasgow this 10 November 2021.

Being both parties to the Paris Agreement, and contracting states to the Convention on International Civil Aviation 1944 (“the Chicago Convention”).

Recognising international aviation’s material contribution to climate change through its CO2 emissions, along with its additional, but less well-defined, contribution associated with non-CO2 emissions.

Also recognising that despite the impact of COVID-19, the international aviation industry and the number of global air passengers and volume of cargo is expected to increase significantly over the next 30 years.

Acknowledging the impact of COVID-19 on the global aviation sector and the need to develop initiatives that enable the aviation industry to continue to build back better and grow in a sustainable manner.

Emphasising that international action on tackling aviation emissions is essential given the global nature of the sector and that co-operation by states and aviation stakeholders is critical for reducing the aviation sector’s contribution to climate change, including its risks and impacts.

Recalling the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

Recognising that achieving net zero global CO2 emissions by 2050 will maximize the possibility of keeping the global average temperature increase below 1.5°C, and the need to align international efforts to reduce emissions from the aviation sector consistent with a pathway towards achieving this temperature limit.

Acknowledging that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is the appropriate forum in which to address emissions from international aviation through in-sector and out-of-sector measures to implement short-, medium- and long-term goals, including the development of a global sustainability framework to support the deployment of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

Commit to:

1. Working together, both through ICAO and other complementary cooperative initiatives, to advance ambitious actions to reduce aviation CO2 emissions at a rate consistent with efforts to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C.

2. Supporting the adoption by ICAO of an ambitious long-term aspirational goal consistent with the above-referenced temperature limit, and in view of the industry’s commitments towards net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

3. Ensuring the maximum effectiveness of CORSIA, including by:

  • supporting efforts at ICAO and working with other ICAO member states to implement and strengthen CORSIA as an important measure to address aviation emissions, including to expand participation in CORSIA, and participating in CORSIA as soon as possible, if our state has not done so already.

  • taking steps domestically to implement Annex 16 Volume IV of the Chicago Convention as fully as possible and in a timely manner, including with respect to enforcement of domestic regulations, legislation, or Implementation arrangements.

  • advancing the environmental ambition of the scheme in the course of undertaking the CORSIA Periodic Reviews.

  • working to ensure that double counting is avoided through the host state’s application of corresponding adjustments in accounting for its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement for the mitigation underlying all CORSIA Eligible Emissions Units and, where needed, CORSIA Eligible Fuels, used toward CORSIA compliance.

4. Promoting the development and deployment, through international and national measures, of sustainable aviation fuels that reduce lifecycle emissions and contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular avoiding competition with food production for land use and water supply.

5. Promoting the development and deployment, through international and national measures, of innovative new low- and zero-carbon aircraft technologies that can reduce aviation CO2 emissions.

6. Preparing up-to-date state action plans detailing ambitious and concrete national action to reduce aviation emissions and submitting these plans to ICAO well in advance of the 41st ICAO Assembly, where such plans have not already been updated in line with ICAO Assembly Resolution A40-18, paragraph 11.

7. Promoting capacity building support for the implementation of CORSIA and other ICAO climate measures, including to advance uptake of freely available tools and to expand regional expertise, accreditation and access to markets for sustainable aviation fuels and CORSIA Eligible Emissions Units.

8. Convening periodically at both ministerial and official levels with a view to advancing and reviewing progress on the above commitments.

We invite other states to commit to this declaration and work with us towards our shared objectives.


Signed by the ministers and representatives of:

Burkina Faso


Costa Rica








Republic of Korea





New Zealand






United Kingdom

United States of America

Images - Kevan James

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