Airlines agree common plan for tackling emissions

Mon Jun 3, 2013 8:05am EDT
 
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CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Global airlines have agreed on a proposal for tackling aircraft emissions in a bid to break international deadlock over an issue that has stoked fears of a carbon trade war.

Airlines representing 85 percent of global traffic urged governments to adopt a single market-based system designed to offset growth in their post-2020 emissions against the funding of projects to cut emissions deemed harmful to the environment.

The decision is designed to offer governments a basis for negotiation after United Nations talks failed to resolve a stand-off between the European Union and a broad flank of other countries over an issue with cross-border implications.

Airlines have been racing to avert a trade war after the European Union suspended an emissions trading scheme for a year to give opponents time to agree on a global system.

So far, little progress has been made in the UN effort to craft an agreement to lower emissions from international air travel, raising doubts that a September target date can be met.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a group of 240 originally state-owned airlines set up to help the UN harmonize aviation after World War II, backed the plan after balancing the interests of airlines usually noted for cut-throat competition.

State-owned Chinese and Indian airlines voted against the measure, echoing what analysts see as the reluctance of their governments to set a precedent for wider climate control talks.

IATA's director general told Reuters earlier that failure to agree a common position would expose the airline industry to a "patchwork horror story" of different regulations.

Airlines have been trying to use a slim window of opportunity to smooth over their own divisions and seize the initiative before the UN's aviation body meets in September.   Continued...

 
A plane flies in the polluted air above the airport fences in Beijing February 22, 2012. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic