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IATA director general challenges EU ETS

By control on September 27, 2011

Tony Tyler, the director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association, has spoken out about the extremely divisive European Union Emissions Trading Scheme and its “misguided” approach to sustainability. Addressing attendees of the recent Greener Skies conference in Hong Kong, Tyler laid out a new plan to reduce carbon emissions — one that encompasses every region.

The EU ETS, which will be applied to the global aviation industry starting January 1, forces carriers flying into or out of Europe to record their emissions and purchase carbon allowances if the flight’s carbon footprint exceeds a pre-determined limit. Moreover, airline officials must keep track of emissions on the entire leg routing into or out of Europe.

Although Tyler reiterated IATA’s commitment to reduce airline emissions at Greener Skies, he said the ETS “distracts governments from focusing on the real solution — a global approach through [the International Civil Aviation Organization].”

A better way, Tyler argued, is to utilize the four-pronged approach championed by ICAO: invest in technology, build strong infrastructures, streamline operations and take positive economic measures.

“The industry’s value chain is united around ambitious targets and a clear strategy to reduce its carbon footprint,” Tyler told conference attendees. “To achieve the positive economic measures, technology improvements, more efficient infrastructure and better operations necessary to meet our targets, governments need to be much more proactive stakeholders and real partners.”

Fortunately, he said, the global aviation industry is spurring change through its initiative to slash carbon emissions in half by 2050. It’s an objective that will rely heavily on the development of sustainable biofuels, Tyler told Greener Skies attendees.

“Biofuels could be a game-changer,” Tyler said. “But despite the quick progress to date, some major hurdles still remain, such as bringing big oil on board and getting the policy framework of fiscal and legal incentives to encourage their commercialization. We need positive economic measures that result from strategic government decisions to support the growth of green economies, including aviation.”

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