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IATA calls for global emissions solution

The world’s governments need to develop a new system to monitor and manage the aviation industry’s carbon emissions, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.

Airlines contribute 2% of global manmade carbon emissions
Airlines contribute 2% of global manmade carbon emissions

Speaking at the Greener Skies Conference in Hong Kong this week, IATA’s Director-General & CEO, Tony Tyler, called for a global approach to managing the 2% of global manmade carbon emissions produced by the aviation industry. Such a global approach would avoid the conflict experienced in the last two years, following the EU’s attempts to include international airlines in its Emission Trading Scheme (ETS).

“A lot of progress has been made on aviation and the environment,” said Tyler. “[EU ETS] was a roadblock to establishing a global approach to MBMs (market-based measures). With that roadblock removed we are well positioned for a breakthrough on MBMs. Governments are fully focused on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to agree upon a global solution at their upcoming Assembly. And the industry is united and working hard to support that by finding an equitable way to share the burden of achieving CNG2020. A lot of hard work lies ahead but we are committed to achieving a positive result,” he added.

The EU suspended its plans to include international aviation in the ETS late last year, following fierce opposition from several countries, including the US, China, India and Russia. Instead it pledged to work with ICAO to find a common solution.

ICAO has identified three options for a global scheme: carbon offsetting, carbon offsetting with a revenue-generating component, and a full global emissions trading scheme.

“Whichever option is chosen, the devil will be in the details. And it is critically important to ensure that the agreement preserves fair competition,” warned Tyler.

The aviation industry has already set itself tough environmental targets, with plans for a 1.5% average annual improvement in fuel efficiency to 2020, carbon neutral-growth from 2020 (CNG2020), and cutting net emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.

“A lot is riding on our success. And that will only come if governments and industry are aligned and moving in the same direction,” said Tyler.

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