IATA chief hits out at EU emission trading plans

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IATA chief Tony Tyler has called on the EU to abandon its plan to include aviation in its emissions trading scheme arguing that airlines needed to be part of  a global scheme rather than a regional one.

Airlines represent two per cent of global man-made CO2 emissions. This year that is estimated to be some 650 million tonnes of CO2 emitted while carrying 2.8 billion passengers and 46 million tonnes of cargo.

And said Tyler: “By 2050, the industry aspires to carry 16 billion passengers and 400 million tonnes of cargo with some 320 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.”

In a speech at the Greener Skies conference in Hong Kong, Tyler pointed out that the industry had agreed on a four-pillar strategy to achieve emissions reductions that had also been endorsed by governments through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The four pillars are (1) investments in technology, (2) more efficient infrastructure, (3) more efficient operations and (4) positive economic measures.

Airlines, airports, air navigation service providers and manufacturers are committed to improving fuel efficiency by 1.5 per cent annually to 2020, capping net carbon emissions from 2020 with carbon-neutral growth and cutting net emissions in half by 2050, compared to 2005.

“IATA is not opposed to emissions trading. We support the concept as a possible mechanism for the fourth pillar of our environment strategy. But the EU’s unilateral and regional approach to ETS could not be more misguided. It is distracting governments from focusing on the real solution—a global approach through ICAO,” said Tyler.

Tyler also responded to EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard’s comment that the issuing of free ETS allowances would enable aviation to invest 20 billion Euros in clean technologies between now and 2020.

“If that were the reality, we wouldn’t be complaining! But it’s not. The well-known fact is that airlines will be net purchasers of carbon emissions permits for the foreseeable future.

“The starting cost is $1.2 billion in 2012. To put that into perspective, the industry’s projected 2012 profit is $4.9 billion. Aviation cannot afford expensive regional mistakes – all parties urgently need to get back around the table to agree a global approach under the leadership of ICAO,” said Tyler.

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