GENEVA -The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged the European Union to get its priorities in the right order and focus on practical steps to help reduce aviation’s CO2 emissions. IATA’s statement followed Tuesday's vote in the European Parliament on including aviation in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
“Climate change is a serious problem and hypocrisy is not the answer. We could be saving 12 million tonnes of CO2 annually with an effective Single European Sky. Instead of making that a reality, Europe is single-mindedly pursuing a political agenda of emissions trading that does nothing to improve environmental performance. I don’t see the European Parliament planting many trees, but somehow they have got lost in the woods,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“With fuel making up 28% of operating costs, airlines have a US$132 billion economic incentive to reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions. We are 2 percent of global CO2 emissions and we have a clear strategy to address this. Our goal is to achieve carbon neutral growth leading to a carbon-free future. This sets a benchmark on environmental performance for other industries to follow,” said Bisignani.
“These aren’t just words: with practical measures like route shortening we saved up to 15 million tonnes of CO2 in 2006 alone. What have Europe’s politicians contributed to this achievement? The answer is absolutely nothing. And today’s vote continues the tradition of hot air and no action,” said Bisignani.
Economic measures are part of IATA’s four-pillar strategy to address climate change. These can play a role once industry stakeholders, including governments, have put in place measures that maximise efficiencies from technology, operations and infrastructure. This strategy was accepted by all member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization in September 2007 including Europe. But instead of working towards a fair, voluntary and global emissions trading scheme, Europe plans to implement unilaterally.
“Europe’s go-it-alone approach on emissions trading is counterproductive. Regional schemes will have, at best, limited impact on the environment. And their unilateral application to foreign airlines is a clear breach of the Chicago Convention. The resulting trade and legal battles will distract governments from making real progress,” said Bisignani.