photo by Craig Forrester
In the ongoing effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector, the airline industry has been the focus of a good deal of criticism. Some airlines themselves have announced plans to reduce their environmental impact—Lufthansa, JAL, and Virgin Atlantic have all taken steps in this direction. Now comes word from the EU that government will at last partially dictate the pace of emissions reduction from aviation.
Airlines Must Reduce Emissions 3% In First Year
In a move which has predictably angered the airline industry, the European Union has overwhelmingly passed legislation which will include airlines in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012. Under the rule, airlines will have to cut CO2 emission by 3% in the first year, and by 5% from 2013. All airlines flying in and out of the EU will have to meet the reduction numbers.
Reuters quoted a spokesperson for the International Air Carriers Association voicing opposition to the plan: "Today's vote creates the worst of all worlds—even more financial pressure on airlines without any proven benefits for the environment."
Given that aviation generates 3% of all CO2 emissions in the EU and is expected to double in a bit more than a decade, and the potential impacts of global warming, I'm not sure how you can say that forcing airlines to reduce emissions isn't a positive situation for the environment. And even if ticket prices are forced higher, that may in turn make rail travel seem even more attraction, another positive environmental move.