Airlines plan ‘to cut emissions’ to half the 2005 levels by 2050

22.9.2009   (BBC)

The aviation industry is to pledge to cut carbon dioxide emissions to half the
2005 levels by 2050, the head of BA will tell world leaders later.

British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh will say the industry’s proposals
are “the best option for the planet”.

The move would force air fares up and could prompt a race for green technologies
among aircraft makers.

The deal between airlines, airports and aircraft companies will be presented
at the UN’s climate summit in New York.

Around 100 or so world leaders are attending the conference aimed at building
momentum before a meeting in Denmark in December, where it is hoped a new deal
on global emissions reduction targets will be thrashed out.

The aviation industry’s plan is thought to be an attempt to head off criticism
from environmental groups over increasing emissions at the Copenhagen meeting.

Mr Walsh will speak with senior executives from Qatar Airways, SAS and the International
Air Transport Association at the UN headquarters in New York later on Tuesday.

Mr Walsh will tell the conference: “International aviation emissions were not
included in the Kyoto protocol 12 years ago.

‘Seize this chance’

“Now we have a chance to rectify that omission, and we must seize it.

“Our proposals represent the most environmentally effective and practical means
of reducing aviation’s carbon impact.

“They are the best option for the planet and we urge the UN to adopt them.”

The proposals are:

• to halve net carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, compared with 2005 levels

• to make all industry growth carbon-neutral by 2020

• to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5% each year over the next decade

• to submit plans for joining a global carbon trading scheme to the UN by November

If these are accepted by the UN, they will be on the agenda at Copenhagen.

Meanwhile, Ed Miliband, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, who is at the New
York summit, said achieving a deal on climate change would not be easy.

“Many of the jigsaw pieces are starting to come into place, despite the fact
that we are trying to do something incredibly difficult, which is get an agreement
among 189 countries and do something the world has never done before, which is
cut our overall emissions – global emissions – and that is incredibly hard.

“But I think there’s signs from India, from China, from Brazil, and, of course,
I think Europe has been doing a job, and indeed I think the political will in
the US that exists, I think is encouraging.”