Industry trade group touts global market-based carbon cap
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The commercial aviation industry is moving closer to adopting a carbon-neutral growth strategy, as the International Air Transport Association last week endorsed the idea of a a single global cap on emissions of international flights to take effect in 2020.
“Airlines are committed to working with governments to build a solid platform for the future sustainable development of aviation,” IATA’s director general and CEO Tony Tyler said after the trade group endorsed a resolution that could lead toward establishment of a market-based mechanism to achieve carbon-neutral growth starting in 2020.
The organization previously adopted a target of cutting emissions by 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.
“Now the ball is in the court of governments. We will be strongly supporting their leadership as they seek a global agreement through the International Civil Aviation Organization at its assembly later this year,” Tyler said.
“For governments, finding agreement on MBMs will not be easy. It was difficult enough for the airlines, given the potential financial implications. Bridging the very different circumstances of fast growing airlines in emerging markets and those in more mature markets required a flexible approach and mutual understanding,” Tyler said.
“But sustainability is aviation’s license to grow. With that understanding and a firm focus on the future, airlines found an historic agreement. This industry agreement should help to relieve the political gridlock on this important issue and give governments momentum and a set of tools as they continue their difficult deliberations,” he said.
Leading U.S. environmental groups echoed the IATA call for a global cap on airline emissions, but said the group’s resolution won’t fully address the industry’s contribution to climate change, the NGOs cautioned.
“IATA has opened the door, now it is time for governments to walk through it this September. This is the signal that governments have been seeking,” said Annie Petsonk, the international counsel at the Environmental Defense Fund.
“It is time for governments to heed the call and act decisively this year to control aviation’s carbon pollution,” said Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director at Natural Resources Defense Council.
In a letter to IATA in advance of last week’s conference in Capetown, the environmental groups sent a letter to IATA, calling on the organization to adopt a science-based approach to controlling carbon emissions.
“To be credible, such measures must include targets compatible with climate science, strong provisions to ensure the environmental credibility of the traded units, limited access to offsets and strict provisions to ensure compliance, the letter said.
Filed under: Environment, global warming, tourism, Travel Tagged: | civil aviation, commercial aviation, global warming, greenhouse gases, IATA, International Air Transport Association, International Civil Aviation Organization, Travel