Airlines pledge to go green but it will cost you

BRITISH Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh (right), has presented IATA’s proposals for reducing the aviation industry’s greenhouse gas emissions to the UN Secretary General’s Summit on Climate Change in New York.

The three main targets given were to improve carbon efficiency with a 1.5 per cent average annual improvement in fuel efficiency to 2020; stabilising emissions with carbon-neutral growth from 2020; and emissions reductions with a 50 per cent absolute cut in emissions by 2050 compared to 2005.

Walsh said: “International aviation emissions were not included in the Kyoto protocol 12 years ago. 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.”

“Our targets are tough,” said Giovanni Bisignani. “But our four-pillar strategy of technology investment, efficient infrastructure, effective operations and positive economic measures, will make our vision a reality and is already showing results.”

All very well, but under the proposals airlines would opt out of the EU emissions trading scheme and instead buy CO2 permits on a global market. This would transfer the costs – estimated to be US$4.8 billion per year – from the airlines in taxes to their customers.

Meanwhile, the standards organisation – BSi – has launched a new GHG emissions verification service for the industry, which helps the operators keep track of their emissions but also help them trade credits for profit.

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