Airlines agree on plan to offset emissions

Mon Jun 3, 2013 12:56pm 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.

European Commissioner for Climate Action in the European Commission Connie Hedegaard said in a Twitter message on Monday that the airlines' agreement can boost global negotiations to address aviation emissions.

"Very strong message that (the) airline industry seems ready to support a global MBM (market-based mechanism). Time for governments to match it and deliver in ICAO," she wrote, referring to the U.N. body that sets standards and provides a forum for the global civil aviation industry.

So far, little progress has been made in the U.N. 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 U.N. 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.   Continued...

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