By Ng Che Yean
BEIJING :The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for a comprehensive global solution on aviation emissions to be negotiated through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“To meet our ambitious targets we will need a globally-agreed approach covering the areas of technology, operations and infrastructure as well as positive market-based measures.
“Everyone including Europe agrees that the solution must be a global agreement through ICAO at the 2013 Assembly,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director- General and Chief Executive Officer.
“But Europe’s unilateral and extra-territorial inclusion of international aviation in its emissions trading scheme from 2012 is creating discord when we need harmony,” he said in his keynote State of the Industry address at the opening of the 68th IATA annual general meeting and World Air Transport Summit, here.
Tyler said the global air transport industry was committed to three goals, including to improve fuel efficiency 1.5 per cent annually to 2020, cap net emissions from 2020 with carbon-neutral growth and cut net emissions by half by 2050 compared with 2005 levels in order to manage its two per cent share of the global man-made carbon emissions.
“To meet our ambitious targets, we will, at least initially, also need globally-coordinated, positive market-based measures. The extra-territorial European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) is not a stepping stone on the way. It’s a polarising obstacle that is preventing real progress.
“Our (AGM) host country, China, is at the forefront of the opposition to the European ETS. Its carriers are forbidden from participating.
“Sustainability should unite the world with common purpose, not divide it with affronts to sovereignty that risk a trade war, a war that nobody wants and from which no winner can emerge. Certainly no european airline or otherwise should be a target for retaliation because European governments are acting extra-territorially.
“There is however a common ground. Everyone, including Europe, agrees that the only real solution is a global agreement through ICAO at its 2013 Assembly.
“Such an agreement however is impossible under current conditions.
“Europe seems more committed to implement its ETS unilaterally than to sincerely negotiate a multilateral agreement. For Europe’s international counterparts, it’s like being asked to negotiate with a gun to their head.
“Nobody can deny Europe the credit for moving sustainability up the global agenda. States are focused on the issue as never before. The onus is now on Europe to seize the moment, take a credible action to defuse the situation, and get on with finding the global solution that everybody is hoping for,” Tyler said.
The ICAO is currently working on options for a single and global market-based measure for international aviation and these options are being developed for review by the Council of ICAO with a view to agreeing to one of the options at the next ICAO Assembly of member states in the 2013 autumn.
Tyler said IATA was encouraged by the progress at the recent ICAO.
“For the first time there will be concrete proposals on the table for the states to consider. It is vital that an agreement is reached at the next ICAO Assembly so that the industry and the governments can proceed together to tackle the challenges of climate change and achieve the ambitious goals that we have set,” he added.