Airline group backs global emissions trading scheme

6.4.2009   (Reuters)

By David Fogarty, Climate Change Correspondent, Asia

SINGAPORE – Four of the world’s top airlines have backed a global scheme to curb
carbon emissions and hope the proposal will be included in a broader U.N. pact
to fight climate change.
It is the first time airline firms have banded together to make recommendations
to U.N. climate change officials on how to tackle the sector’s carbon emissions.
Aviation is responsible for about 2% *   of global greenhouse gas pollution and
that share is expected to rise, as leading green groups and the European Union
demand the sector clean up its act.
Air France/KLM (AIRF.PA), British Airways (BAY.L), Cathay Pacific (0293.HK),
Virgin Atlantic [VA.UL], airport operator BAA (FER.MC) and international NGO The
Climate Group have proposed a deal that covers all carbon pollution from the international
aviation sector.
This would ensure equal treatment for airlines and open the way to global emissions
trading within the sector and possibly with other industries and countries.
“There are some airlines that still think “we’re only 2% *   of global emissions
therefore let us get on with our job in peace”, said Mark Kenber, policy director
of The Climate Group, which advises businesses and governments on how to cut carbon
“That in Europe, not least as a PR pitch, doesn’t work anymore,” he told Reuters
by telephone from London.
“If airlines don’t propose something credible environmentally but also that works
well for them economically, then they will get saddled with some other option.”
The proposal by the six-member aviation deal group is to be presented to climate
change negotiators later on Monday in Bonn in Germany, where representatives from
175 nations are meeting to work on a broader climate pact to replace the Kyoto
Negotiations for the post-Kyoto pact are due to be wrapped up in December in
Conservation groups such as WWF say aviation has not been doing enough to tackle the sector’s growing share
of greenhouse gas pollution and must pay for its emissions like many other industries.
Emissions from global aviation are about 650 million tonnes of CO2 annually,
according to the Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines.
Many airlines say only a global approach is fair and criticise the European Union’s
decision to include aviation in the bloc’s emissions trading scheme from 2012.
Kenber says the Aviation Global Deal Group is hoping other major carriers will
join and were talking to several other airlines in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East
and the United States.
The scheme to be outlined later on Monday recommends that nations agree to a
global cap on aviation emissions and that any scheme agreed must be integrated
within a post-Kyoto climate pact set to take effect from 2013.
According to the 43-point proposal, individual carriers would surrender allowances
in proportion to the carbon content of their annual fuel purchases. A UN body
should administer the system, including the auction of permits.
Auction proceeds would be split between the Kyoto Protocol’s adaptation fund
for developing nations, help fund development of sustainable biofuels for use
in aviation and towards a U.N.-backed initiative that aims to save forests in
poorer nations in return for tradeable carbon credits.
Kenber said the group’s next step was to conduct a deeper analysis of what the
aviation cap might be as well as how best to integrate the scheme into the carbon
The ultimate aim was to have the scheme adopted as one of the proposals on the
table when U.N. climate negotiators meet again in June in Bonn. (Editing by Michael
*     estimated as 3% in the New Scientist article below.   And this does not take into
account radiative forcing or other gases.
see also
New Scientist

Airlines want governments to be stricter on emissions

by Catherine Brahic

They may be an unlikely green lobby, but four of the world’s largest airline
companies have called on governments to be stricter with them.

British Airways, Air France-KLM, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic have joined
forces with the British Airports Authority and The Climate Group, a policy consultancy,
in a proposal for a global
cap-and-trade scheme that would regulate airline emissions.

The airlines want their proposal to be included in the next global emissions
agreement, scheduled to be signed in December. The move was announced at the close
of 10 days of
climate negotiations held in Bonn, Germany, this week.

The UN estimates air transport is responsible for roughly 3 per cent of human
greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
Without action, its share could rise to 15 per cent by 2050. Yet the industry
is not yet required to reduce its emissions – even under the Kyoto protocol.

The European Union and the US have each discussed independently regulating aviation emissions. But Paul Steele, executive director
of the Air Transport Action Group says the industry would rather governments “take
a global approach for aviation rather than the current patchwork of national and
regional emissions management schemes”.

A spokesperson for Greenpeace told New Scientist the organisation felt the first priority for the transport industry should be
to stop expanding. The airlines hope stricter regulations could stimulate the
adoption of greener aviation fuels, such as biofuels.
Link to New Scientist online article