Airline set targets to cut carbon emissions

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The cost of air cargo could rise if plans by airlines to reduce carbon emissions go-ahead.

The proposals, outlined by British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh at a United Nations forum on climate change in New York on 22nd September, set a target of reducing the industry’s net carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.

The move comes in response to demands from environmentalists to use taxes to force airlines to cut carbon emissions.

Some 230 IATA airlines, supported by aircraft manufacturers, air traffic control providers and airports, have reached an agreement setting out specific targets for the global industry and a process to secure their achievement:

• to improve CO2 efficiency by an average of 1.5 per cent per year up to 2020;

• to stabilise net CO2 emissions from 2020 (ie achieve carbon-neutral growth);

• to reduce net CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, compared with 2005 levels;

• to submit to the UN a framework and mechanisms to deliver these targets by November 2010.

Mr Walsh said: “The global air industry has worked very hard to agree this common plan of action, which would give the UN full control over monitoring and regulating aviation emissions worldwide.

With senior executives from Qatar Airways, SAS and the International Air Transport Association, Mr Walsh was taking part in the UN Leadership Forum on Climate Change at the UN headquarters in New York.

The event, part of the preparations for the Copenhagen summit in December, was attended by nearly 250 heads of government, environmentalists and business leaders from around the world.

Clearly there would be an impact on the airlines’ costs although no figures have been released. Nevertheless, it is expected that air fares and cargo rates would have to rise to pay for it.

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