Finnair and Qatar Airways announce they are to join the Aviation Global Deal climate policy group
Finnair’s Kati Ihamäki: “Aviation Global Deal is the right step towards fewer emissions in the future.”
Tue 5 May 2009 – Finnair and Qatar Airways are joining the Aviation Global Deal (AGD) Group that was set up in February to develop a global policy for tackling aviation emissions. Both airlines say that unilateral emissions schemes are not the answer to reducing the industry’s emissions and a solution must be global. They join Air France - KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, airport operator BAA and international NGO The Climate Group. Last month, the AGD Group presented their ideas during a UNFCCC session in Bonn.
The basic mechanism proposed by the group is a global sectoral agreement covering carbon dioxide emissions from all air transport providers that can be part of a post-Kyoto deal to be negotiated in Copenhagen in December. Net emissions reductions will be achieved, it maintains, by setting a global emissions reduction target for the sector and allocating allowances to airlines, which can be topped up, if necessary, through the purchase of carbon credits. The group advocates an international body be set up to administer the system.
The AGD Group’s proposal is intended to support the work of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – which also seeks a global solution on the issue – and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the UN agency which has been tasked with finding appropriate solutions to tackling aviation emissions. ICAO’s Group on International Aviation and Climate Change (GIACC) meets for its fourth and final session later this month and is due to submit its report to the ICAO Council at the end of June. The AGD Group is currently working towards finalizing its own recommendations in June.
Commenting on its decision to join the AGD Group, Finnair’s Vice President Sustainable Development, Kati Ihamäki, said: “In order to actually achieve emissions reductions in aviation, an emissions trading deal must be global. A deal covering only certain airlines or certain geographical areas distorts competition and potentially encourages less eco-efficient operating procedures such as intermediate landings in non-optimal locations outside the emissions trading area. Aviation Global Deal is the right step towards fewer emissions in the future.”
Chris Schroeder, Qatar Airways’ Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environment and Fuel Optimization, said: “As one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, we have a responsibility to ensure that our carbon footprint remains as low as possible, hence as part of our CSR programme – ‘The Oryx Flies Green’ – we strive for carbon neutral growth.
“The aviation industry has to do its part to reduce the overall carbon footprint but we do not see how this can be achieved by unilaterally enforced emissions trading schemes, hence we fully support a global solution for the aviation industry. We are fully committed to the work and the goal of the AGD Group, which shows how serious the industry is about this matter that affects all of us globally.”
The group presented its proposals earlier last month at a side event during a UNFCCC negotiating session held in Bonn, Germany. Damian Ryan, Senior Policy Analyst at The Climate Group, said the feedback was very positive. “The main reaction we got was one of surprise that a group of airlines had managed to come up with quite detailed policy proposals,” he told GreenAir. “This hadn’t been done before, as far as I know, by any other industry group.”
He said there were still a number of issues the group had to work on before the next UNFCCC meeting in June and there were issues that had to be considered as a result of the ongoing wider climate change negotiations taking place. For example, he said, it was still unclear as to whether there will be a new protocol to replace Kyoto, an amendment to the existing protocol or a change to the overall climate change framework agreement. “We also have to consider how this all fits in with the GIACC process and the ICAO/UNFCCC timeframes.”