Bring it On, Say Airlines
Image courtesy of egmb757lover
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is vigorously contesting a proposal made by several EU nations that would include aviation emissions under the international body's cap-and-trade scheme. The airline trade organization has been furiously lobbying member states for its rejection and has vowed to fight until the bitter end.
"This is a global industry and we need a global tool. Regional trading schemes will not work. That is why 170 countries will challenge Europe. Instead of working together to build a global trading scheme, governments will be discussing legal issues," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's chief executive. The proposal would require airlines to join the emissions scheme by 2011 - a necessary measure, its advocates argue, to ensure carbon emissions are cut by a fifth by 2020. Despite fierce opposition from the airlines - and (surprise, surprise) countries like the U.S. - British government officials have vowed to move ahead with the revision.
Ruth Kelly, Britain's transport secretary, notably criticized the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) - which opponents of the proposal have argued should arbitrate the matter - for not living up to "the leadership role given to it by the Kyoto protocol."
The IATA has tried to argue that subjecting airlines to the carbon emissions scheme would eliminate the sector's profits and prevent companies from investing in more eco-friendly planes. Granted, rising oil prices will likely harm them in the short term but - when you read stories like this (and with flying projected to increase over the coming years) - it's really hard to feel sympathetic.
As the Campaign for Better Transport's Stephen Joseph put it: "The airline industry is in denial."