Airlines deliver proposals to the UN on behalf of the aviation industry to cut global aviation CO2 emissions
Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways (photo: ATAG)
Tue 22 Sep 2009 – An IATA-led airline delegation is today presenting proposals for including aviation in a post-Kyoto framework to the UN Leadership Forum on Climate Change taking place in New York. The proposals, which are being presented on behalf of the aviation industry in general, are those agreed at the IATA Annual General Meeting in June. They include a commitment to short, medium and long term targets to 2050 on reducing aviation CO2 emissions. The delegation includes Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways, and representatives from SAS Group, Air France-KLM and Qatar Airways.
“The forthcoming Copenhagen summit represents an historic opportunity for aviation to join the mainstream of the world’s efforts to combat climate change,” said Walsh. “International aviation emissions were not included in the Kyoto Protocol 12 years ago. Now we have a chance to rectify that omission – and we must seize it.
“Our proposals represent the most environmentally effective and practical means of reducing aviation’s carbon impact. They are the best option for the planet, and we urge the UN to adopt them.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents some 230 airlines worldwide comprising 93% of scheduled air traffic, said the aviation sector was united in calling on world leaders to retain a global sectoral approach to reducing aviation emissions under the leadership of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), working in cooperation with the sector through IATA.
“This is what Copenhagen can achieve,” said Paul Steele, IATA’s Environment Director and a member of the delegation. “The alternative of a patchwork of national and regional policies will lead to conflicting and overlapping regulation, competitive distortion and, potentially, increases in carbon emissions.”
The IATA proposals for a global sectoral approach in which aviation should be treated as a separate sector rather than country-by-country and that aviation emissions be accounted for at a global level have received support from international industry bodies representing airports, manufacturers and air navigation service providers.
The commitment extends to:
·improving aircraft and engine carbon efficiency with a 1.5% average annual improvement in fuel efficiency to 2020;
·stabilizing CO2 emissions with carbon-neutral growth from 2020; and
·an absolute cut in emissions by 2050 compared to 2005.
Quentin Browell of IATA reports that global aviation CO2 emissions for 2005 amounted to 637 million tonnes. In 2009, he says IATA forecasts that figure will have already fallen to 623 million tonnes, partly due to advances in operational efficiencies but also as a result of the industry recession.
The proposals, which are also contained in a paper to be presented at next month’s ICAO High Level Meeting on International Aviation and Climate Change, also outline guiding principles to ensure that the global sectoral approach results in emissions reductions, retains funds for investment in environmental initiatives for aviation, preserves a level playing field, provides access to global carbon markets and ensures that airlines cover the environmental cost of their emissions.
“The Kyoto Protocol directed states to address aviation through ICAO. Its global standards and cooperation with industry have made air transport the safest form of travel,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “A global sectoral approach for aviation can leverage this same leadership to deliver results for aviation and the environment.”
He said the reductions targets were “tough” and pointed out that air transport was the first industry to commit to carbon-neutral growth at a global level.
BA’s Willie Walsh said: “The global air industry has worked very hard to agree this common plan of action, which would give the UN full control over monitoring and regulating aviation emissions worldwide. This would enable aviation to play its full part in the global effort that will be decided at Copenhagen to stem greenhouse gases across all economic sectors.”
The UN Leadership Forum on Climate Change is the official launch of the UN Secretary General’s Summit on Climate Change and provides an opportunity for the private sector to make the case to heads of state and government that business has a strong interest in the negotiation of a successful outcome at December’s UN climate change conference in Copenhagen.