Thursday, August 9, 2012

Passenger and Cargo Airlines Emissions Under the Spotlight

EU Trading Scheme Plans Dismissed by Other Governments
Shipping News Feature

US – WORLDWIDE – The plans for the future of aviation were discussed last week in Washington by seventeen of the world’s largest aviation powers which convened to debate constructive steps towards a global deal under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to address the emissions produced by both passenger and cargo airlines. Last month in Saint Petersburg the ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) unanimously agreed on a CO2 metric system which characterizes the CO2 emissions for aircraft types with varying technologies.

At the recent meeting and, as in the past, the much maligned European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) was dismissed as being ‘unilateral and extra-territorial’ by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its subsequent report of the meeting. The seventeen non-EU governments agreed to pursue the goals of the ICAO Assembly’s 2010 Resolution, including the aspiration to achieve ‘carbon-neutral’ growth from 2020. On the development of Market-Based Measures (MBMs), the group reconfirmed its desire to continue to explore the feasibility of a global MBM scheme, while recognizing the need to prioritize work on developing a framework for such a scheme.

Separately, IATA also welcomed the passage of a Bill in the United States Senate on the 2nd August to prohibit US carriers from participating in the EU ETS. Significantly, the Bill passed with unanimous bi-partisan support and makes specific provision for Officials to use their authority to conduct international negotiations to pursue a worldwide approach to address aircraft emissions.

It is hard to see how the EU can make its proposed measures work without unleashing a trade backlash against participating countries. Couple this with the growing internal dissent with critics openly proclaiming that this is another fanciful scheme with no thought given to potential consequences and many analysts believe it is only a matter of time before the EU plans fall victim to a face saving exercise.

IATA’s stance is unsurprisingly unambiguous stating that ‘The global aviation community is encouraged to see that in spite of the EU’s insistence on defending its divisive scheme, governments outside Europe recognize the tremendous socio-economic benefits from aviation and are making determined efforts to find common ground to deliver a global solution through ICAO that is acceptable to all.’