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Airlines’ call for global emissions deal not convincing

4th June, 2013

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade body comprising 240 airlines worldwide, has finally acknowledged the need for a global market–based measure to reduce aviation’s contribution to climate change [1]. IATA called on their airline members to encourage their governments to agree at this year’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly on a global carbon offsetting measure to take effect in 2020.

However, the aviation trade body only endorses such a global scheme ‘as opposed to a patchwork of unilateral national and/or regional policy measures’, presumably continuing industry’s opposition to the only international market-based measure actually in place, the sector’s inclusion in Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Bill Hemmings, aviation manager at Transport & Environment, commented: “Today’s IATA resolution represents a welcome departure from their historical position that better air traffic control, better planes and biofuels alone can solve the problem. However, it kicks the ball in the long grass, until after 2020, and sets out a string of unworkable conditions. It rules out the EU ETS as a stepping stone, as well as the raising of revenues, and impacts on traffic volume, which are inherent to any market-based measure. Finally it relies solely on out-of-sector offsets rather than real emissions reductions within aviation.” 

Tim Johnson, Director at Aviation Environment Federation, said: “ICAO members should see it as an encouragement to come up with an effective scheme at the Assembly, not as a blueprint for such a scheme.”


Notes to Editors:

[1] IATA announcement 3.6.13: