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Toward an International Aviation Emissions Agreement

By Brian F. Havel & Gabriel S. Sanchez

It is impossible to predict the eventual stopping place of the climate change discourse. If current evidence is to be believed, international dialogue will intensify as we draw nearer to the hypothesized “zero hour” of irreparable catastrophe. Stepping back from any prophesies of doom, we conclude with two statements that we believe encapsulate this Article’s contribution to the discourse. First, a plausible aviation emissions reduction agreement can ensure that aviation “does its part” by reducing the sector’s emissions to a sustainable level without sacrificing its economic viability. Second, the convergence of stakeholder interests within international aviation will further ensure that the agreement can serve as a lead sector for future (and wider) international collaboration on climate change. And although the agreement framework proposed here is incremental rather than “big bang,” the principle of International Paretianism indicates that the former is more feasible than the latter. Under the canopy of a sectoral treaty among like-minded states, international aviation can responsibly reduce its environmental impact while remaining a force for dynamic economic growth in the coming century.

Cite as: Brian F. Havel & Gabriel S. Sanchez, Toward an International Aviation Emissions Agreement, 36 Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. 351 (2012).

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