A United Nations panel has proposed the first global greenhouse-gas emissions standard for aircraft.
The draft rule, released by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on 8 February, applies to most commercial and business aircraft, including designs already in production. It would require minimal changes to aviation design over the next 12 years.
The plan — which would take full effect in 2028 — could decrease fuel consumption by new aircraft at cruising speed by an average of 4% compared with the current level, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), a non-profit research group based in Washington DC. The ICAO is expected to adopt the CO2 standard later this year.
But many environmental groups found the UN panel’s action wanting. ”We think that this is just woefully insufficient,” says Vera Pardee, a lawyer with the Center for Biological Diversity in Oakland, California. She calls the requirements for new aircraft weak, and notes that the plan would not require any changes to aircraft that are already flying. “ICAO is not proposing to do anything about the existing fleet, and it could,” she says.
-More at Nature