Montreal: The European Union claimed a diplomatic victory after governments from 190 countries agreed to reduce the impact of global aviation carbon emissions on climate change.
The UN`s aviation body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), late Friday backed a global goal of improving fuel efficiency by two percent every year starting as early as 2013 and continuing to 2050.
The ICAO said the agreement made it the "first" UN agency "to lead a sector in the establishment of a globally harmonised agreement" to limit carbon dioxide emissions which are blamed for global warming.
The agreement comes less than two months before countries meet for the next UN discussions on climate change in Cancun, Mexico, in late November.
The EU on Saturday welcomed the agreement, saying it was in step with its own plan to cap aircraft emissions in Europe starting in 2012 -- even if the deal fell short of what it had hoped.
A key part of the agreement approved an initiative to create a global trading structure for carbon emissions created by air transport.
"Critically, the deal is a good basis for proceeding swiftly with the inclusion of aviation in the EUs emissions trading scheme," EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said in a statement quoted by Bloomberg financial news agency.
"The goal is not as ambitious as Europe thinks it should be, but at the same time ICAO has recognised that some states may take more ambitious actions prior to 2020," Hedegaard said.
The ICAO said the agreement, reached in Montreal after nearly a decade-long stalemate in the discussions, was a "comprehensive resolution to reduce the impact of aviation emissions on climate change" and set "a roadmap for action through 2050".
The agreement will cover more than 90 percent of worldwide air traffic, which contribute up to three percent of global greenhouse emissions, the EU said.