In the latest attempt to impede global warming, the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by the airline industry.
The accord, which was ratified by 191 nations on Thursday, aims to offset the airline industry’s impact on climate change by funding initiatives that limit greenhouse gas emissions. Starting in 2021, airlines that exceed emissions from 2020 must buy credits in industries or projects that benefit the environment.
Some environmentalists think the plan doesn’t go far enough to combat climate change, in part because a section which aligned with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius was removed from the body.
Despite the omission, U.S. diplomatic figures like Secretary of State John Kerry praised the deal, calling it “unprecedented,” according to Fox Business.
“It is another significant step in the global movement to take ambitious action to address climate change exemplified by yesterday’s action to cross the threshold for the Paris Agreement to enter into force,” Kerry said in a statement featured in the same article.
Participation in the UN accord is voluntary until 2027— and will become mandatory from 2027 until 2035. Despite the discretionary period, The Guardian reports that “the world’s two largest emitters, the US and China, have promised to join at its outset in 2020.”
Not all countries are as eager to adopt the plan, however. Fox Business reported that Russia “doesn’t currently plan to participate,” while India has “expressed reservations with portions of the pact.”
The accord comes on the heels of a major announcement about carbon dioxide levels several weeks ago. In late September, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography reported that atmospheric carbon levels jumped above 400 parts per million, and are unlikely to fall below that level again.