IATA strongly criticise ETS vote

THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) severely criticised the European Parliament vote to bring aviation into the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

“It’s absolutely the wrong answer to the very serious issue of environment,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and chief executive officer. “We support emissions trading, but not this decision. Europe has taken the wrong approach, with the wrong conditions at the wrong time.”

The Wrong Approach: Europe’s unilateral and extra-territorial approach will apply ETS to all aircraft flying to or from Europe. Without international agreement, this will only spark international legal battles. “What right does Europe have to impose ETS charges on, for example, an Australian carrier flying from Asia to Europe for emissions over the Middle East? Article 1 of the Chicago Convention prohibits this. And it goes against Article 2 of the Kyoto Protocol. Fuelling legal battles and trade wars is no way to help the environment. Already over 130 states have vowed to oppose it. The only successful way forward for ETS is as the drafters of Kyoto envisaged and the G8 leaders – including Europe – today confirmed. That’s a good scheme brokered through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),” said Bisignani.

The Wrong Conditions: In its first year of operation, the ETS will add €3.5 billion to industry costs and this will rise year-on-year. There is no guarantee that any of the funds generated will be earmarked for environmental purposes. Today’s decision only indicates that revenues generated from the auctioning of allowances “should” be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “It’s the weakest possible language. The plain fact is that the only sure beneficiaries of the €3.5 billion cost, will be national government coffers. There is no assurance that any of the money will go to environmental programmes. It’s time for Europe’s politicians to be honest. This is a punitive tax put in place by politicians who want to paint themselves green. Worse, it’s not even part of a coordinated European policy. This tax will come on top of the UK’s Air Passenger Duty and the Dutch Air Passenger Tax. Rather than double or triple charging for emissions, governments should focus on solutions to improve environmental performance,” said Bisignani.

The Wrong Time: With oil trading above US$140 per barrel and jet fuel above $170 per barrel, the industry fuel bill for 2008 will be at least $190 billion. “Airlines are struggling to reduce fuel burn to survive. Adding an extra $3.5 billion to industry costs will not produce any better results. If Europe is serious about the environment, it would move forward quickly with the Single European Sky proposal. By the Commission’s own calculation, this would save up to 16 million tonnes of CO2 reduce delays and improve environmental performance,” said Bisignani.

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