(CN) - Following Wednesday's announcement that the Paris climate agreement had reached the threshold of support needed for it to enter force, the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization agreed Thursday to begin offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes beginning in 2021.
Under the agreement, airlines will begin offsetting their growth of CO2 emissions after 2020. About 80 percent of the emissions above 2020 levels will be offset between 2021 and 2035, with flights from 65 nations covered in the scheme.
The so-called "global market-based measure" becomes mandatory for all member nations of the organization in 2027.
European transport commissioner Violeta Bulc called the agreement "a new chapter in international aviation, where sustainability finally becomes part of the way we fly." Europe has pushed hard to limit CO2 emissions from commercial aviation, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says accounts for between two and five percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions.
"Europe has been continuously advocating global and coordinated action to address the growth of aviation emissions which was otherwise set to reach 300 percent by 2050," Bulc said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement that Thursday's agreement would help "avoid a patchwork of potentially costly and overlapping regional and national measures," and culminates a decade of work by the United States and other organization members.
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