LOT CEO says airlines cannot ignore climate change truths but policy makers should be more aware of industry problems
Speakers at the LOT-Boeing conference on aviation and the environment
Wed 18 Nov 2009 – The CEO of LOT Polish Airlines, Sebastian Mikosz, has said that although the aviation industry “cannot hide behind the truth of climate change evidence”, policy-makers from the EU and those attending the forthcoming COP 15 climate change summit in Copenhagen should be more aware of the industry’s difficult trading conditions. He was speaking at an aviation and the environment conference in Warsaw this week jointly organized by the airline and Boeing. Mikosz said many environmental benefits go hand in hand with business advantages, such as gains in fuel and operational efficiencies. LOT’s Head of Environment, Andrzej Rode, also pointed out that weight savings in aircraft and equipment could offer significant cost and environmental benefits.
Rode told delegates that LOT backed the aviation industry’s call for a global sectoral approach on dealing with international aviation emissions. However, in the event that this could not be achieved, he said that should different national and regional emissions schemes come into force in the coming years then the airline was prepared to adopt a systems approach to help meet the different and fragmented legislation requirements.
An objective of the conference was to align the debate and preparations of the Polish stakeholders ahead of COP 15 so that a unified objective could be taken to the meeting by the Polish delegation.
Tadeusz Jarmuziewicz from the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure said aviation should receive equal treatment with other sectors and solutions must be global, not regional, and reiterated his government’s support that international aviation emissions should be dealt with through ICAO.
Wojciech Jaworski of the Environment Ministry reminded the industry that regardless of the COP 15 outcome, positive or otherwise, airlines would nevertheless still be bound by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. He acknowledged there had been difficulties over the EU ETS concerning aircraft operators due to be administered by the Polish authorities, stating that only five out of a total of 41 had so far submitted monitoring plans, despite the August 31 deadline.
Le Thi Mai, Head of Environment at the Association of European Airlines (AEA), stated aviation must be included in any post-Kyoto multilateral agreement, regardless of the COP 15 outcome. “Any definition of global targets must also be assigned to the aviation industry under ICAO’s leadership, given its successful track record on other international agreements in aviation,” she said.
The Climate Group’s Damian Ryan also supported the global sectoral approach and ICAO’s role but said the industry’s fuel efficiency target of 1.5% per year was not ambitious enough and represented ‘business as usual’. He believed more work was required by IATA on the fourth pillar – concerning economic measures – of its environmental strategy to reduce the industry’s emissions. However, he acknowledged that aviation is a major contributor to the global economy and had introduced many technological improvements to minimize fuel use.
The future of jet biofuels was another topic addressed at the conference. Sian Foster, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Manager for Virgin Atlantic, stressed the need for biofuels to be addressed at COP 15 and highlighted a perceived weakness in the EU ETS rules over their use. Andrew Pozniak of Green Aviation International believed sustainable alternative fuels could be developed faster if there was more focus on incentivizing upstream sectors such as the oil companies rather than the end users.
Andrzej Kassenberg, President of the Institute for Sustainable Development, reminded Polish delegates that key coastal cities such as Gdansk were only a metre above sea level and the costs of being submerged by a rising Baltic Sea were unimaginable and had to be averted by a strong COP 15 agreement.