Four Airlines Push to Include Aviation in Future Climate Treaty

Four Airlines Push to Include Aviation in Future Climate Treaty

Four major airlines called for an international post-Kyoto climate change treaty that includes aviation emissions last week.

Air France/KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic and airport operator BAA have created the Aviation Global Deal (AGD) Group to lobby for a sectoral approach to climate change that reduces emissions while satisfying its own set of key principles. Nations will meet in Copenhagen in December to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

The move signals the industry’s intent to ensure that any future climate change mandates involving aviation don’t threaten its economic health.  The aviation industry has been a vocal critic of efforts to bring airlines into the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, arguing the trading system will divert funds from the airlines that should go to investment in more efficient technologies. Aviation produces about 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

According to AGD, any climate change agreement that involves the international aviation industry must include: genuine environmental integrity and benefits; a global policy rather than a patchwork of national policies; equal treatment for airlines and countries to avoid market distortions; economic efficiency and access to carbon trading; and a universally applicable system that is simple and straightforward to implement. AGD said any climate change deal involving aviation must reflect the work of the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization and International Air Transport Association.

“Aviation has a key part to play in reducing global emissions and for too long has been seen as part of the climate problem rather than part of the solution,” said Tony Tyler, Cathay Pacific’s chief executive, in a statement. “We hope the work of our group will offer a practical industry-led solution that creates a level-playing field and appeal to policy-makers, environmental groups and businesses alike.”