Encouraging progress at ICAO on developing a market-based measure should not be undermined by Europe, says IATA
IATA DG Tony Tyler opens AGM in Beijing (photo: IATA)
Fri 15 June 2012 – With countries focused as never before on reaching a global agreement on economic measures to reduce aviation emissions, Europe should seize the moment and take action to diffuse the current international conflict over the EU ETS, said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General, at the airline association’s AGM in Beijing earlier this week. He said Europe’s unilateral and extra-territorial inclusion of international aviation in its scheme was creating discord when harmony was needed at a time when recent progress at ICAO on proposals for a solution was very encouraging. As a key driver of growth, jobs and prosperity, he called on governments to be stronger partners in maximising the economic and social benefits aviation can bring as it grows by an expected 5 per cent annually to 2030. IATA revealed that preliminary data showed average fuel efficiency across the industry improved 2.4 per cent from 2009 to 2011 compared to its goal of an average 1.5 per cent annually to 2020.
The global air transport industry has also committed to two further goals: to cap net emissions from 2020 with carbon-neutral growth and to cut net emissions in half by 2050 compared with 2005 levels.
“To meet our ambitious targets we will need a globally-agreed approach covering the areas of technology, operations and infrastructure as well as positive market-based measures,” said Tyler. “Everyone – including Europe – agrees that the solution must be a global agreement through ICAO at the 2013 Assembly.
“The extra-territorial EU ETS is not a stepping stone on the way. It’s a polarising obstacle that is preventing real progress. Our host country, China, is at the forefront of the opposition to the EU ETS. Its carriers are forbidden from participating.
“Sustainability should unite the world with common purpose, not divide it with affronts to sovereignty that risk a trade war, a war that nobody wants and from which no winner can emerge. Certainly no airline – European or otherwise – should be a target for retaliation because European governments are acting extra-territorially.”
Tyler accused Europe of being more committed to implementing its emissions reduction scheme unilaterally than negotiating a multilateral agreement. He said Europe could take credit for moving sustainability up the global agenda, however “for Europe’s international counterparts it’s like being asked to negotiate with a gun to their head.”
In his ‘State of the Industry’ address, Tyler also took Europe to task, in particular the UK, on excessive taxation on aviation, which he said dampened economic growth and jobs. He also took aim at European governments for failing to deliver the Single European Sky ATM project, which is aimed at providing a more cost and fuel efficient ATM system for airlines. He said states had fallen at the first hurdle of implementation and would not even meet the unambitious targets they had agreed to.
He added there was a long list of countries that were not taking advantage of aviation’s economic potential and cited, amongst others, the UK for not expanding runway capacity at Heathrow and the banning in Germany of night flights at Frankfurt.
In a press briefing, Paul Steele, IATA’s Director of Aviation Environment, reported that estimates showed global CO2 emissions from aviation were around 670 million tonnes in 2011, a 3.2% increase on the previous year, and had rebounded after a downturn during the recession.
The aviation industry, he said, was still the only global sector to have set ambitious carbon reduction targets, which included an annual average fuel efficiency improvement of 1.5% from 2009 to 2020.
An analysis of preliminary data of 85% of global airline fuel burn showed fuel efficiency in 2011 was 0.24% better than in 2010 – average fuel consumption was calculated at 37.49 litres/100 RTK – and there had been an average improvement for the years 2009 to 2011 of 2.4% per annum.
The single biggest impact the industry could make on reducing emissions is through fleet renewal and IATA had found the global trend had accelerated since 2007, reported Steele, with deliveries of new, more fuel efficient aircraft rising from around 1,200 in 2007 to an expected 1,500 this year. “This will translate into a further improvement in fuel efficiency as we go forward,” he added. “We’re pretty confident that we are on track with our fuel efficiency goal.”
Steele said the industry had an important role to play in the ongoing negotiations at ICAO to find a global solution on limiting aviation emissions growth and IATA was focused on supporting the ICAO process and helping to get states to the table.
On the current work taking place at ICAO on market-based measures (MBMs), Steele – who is representing the industry in those discussions – said: “The EU is certainly showing a constructive approach so far. We believe that any solution is important for the industry so we are taking our input very seriously.”
He reported that strong progress was being made and IATA was providing input along with other experts, as well as civil society groups represented by ICSA (International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation), to the Ad-hoc Working Group set up within ICAO to come up with a single market-based mechanism and an implementation framework in preparation for the next ICAO Assembly in late 2013. India, South Korea and Switzerland have recently joined the group, in addition to Australia, Brazil, the EU, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, the United States and the UAE.
Four MBMs were, he said, under consideration: a global offset scheme in which airlines purchased credits to cover emissions over and above a baseline, a global offset scheme with additional revenues that could be used to reinvest back into the industry or help with climate change initiatives in the developing world, a global ETS similar to the EU scheme and a trading system based on efficiency rather than emissions.
He said the framework element was still being defined and an interim report would be put before an ICAO Council meeting scheduled for June 26 at which the working group would seek further guidance. Completion of the group’s work is due to be finalised by December 2012.
Steele said work at ICAO on developing an international CO2 efficiency certification standard for new aircraft types was making good progress and looked like being on target for adoption at next year’s Assembly.
The aviation industry was committed to sustainable development, said Steele, and would be represented at next week’s United Nations Rio+20 conference, where it would join forces with ICAO for an Aviation Day on June 19 and a number of biofuel flights were planned in order to demonstrate some of the technologies being employed in the sector.