IATA urges restraint in ETS row

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IATA has reiterated its opposition to the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, and called on all parties to act with restraint to avoid a trade war.

The airline body’s Director-General & CEO, Tony Tyler made the comments at the start of the 68th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit, which opened today (Monday 11 June) in Beijing.

The EU ETS is causing a storm in the aviation industry
The EU ETS is causing a storm in the aviation industry

“Everyone — including Europe — agrees that the solution must be a global agreement through ICAO at the 2013 Assembly. But Europe’s unilateral and extra-territorial inclusion of international aviation in its emissions trading scheme from 2012 is creating discord when we need harmony,” said Tyler.

The IATA event’s host country, China is on a collision course with the EU over the ETS, ordering its airlines not to release carbon data to European authorities and banning purchases of large Airbus jets by Chinese airlines. The Secretary-General of the China Air Transport Association was also reported saying recently that he expected Beijing to retaliate further if the EU fines Chinese airlines for their non-compliance.

Commenting in this conflict Tyler called the ETS a “polarizing obstacle that is preventing real progress”, but urged all sides to show restraint.

“Sustainability should unite the world with common purpose, not divide it with affronts to sovereignty that risk a trade war, a war that nobody wants and from which no winner can emerge. Certainly no airline — European or otherwise — should be a target for retaliation because European governments are acting extra-territorially,” he said.

Tyler also highlighted the four options being considered by ICAO for a single, global market-based measure for international aviation. These are a global mandatory offsetting scheme (with or without additional revenue-raising), a global emissions trading scheme, and global ‘Baseline & Credit’ scheme based on efficiency. One of these models is expected to be agreed in autumn 2013.

By that time however, the row between the EU and other countries – China in particular – could have escalated further. The EU has given Chinese and Indian airlines a mid-June deadline to submit their carbon data, or face the penalties.

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