Looking ahead to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s triennial assembly, the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) has called for a single, market-based approach to limiting airline greenhouse gas emissions.
At the ICAO assembly, which begins Sept. 24, members are expected to vote on a global, market-based measure to take the place of the European Union’s aborted emissions-trading scheme. Members of TIACA, along with governments and other organizations around the world, fought against the European Union’s scheme, which imposed a cap on the emissions of planes flying into Europe. Because airlines that exceeded the cap had to effectively pay a fee to fly into the European Union, detractors saw the plan as a cash-grab.
Implemented in 2012, airlines were given a free year to get up to speed with the emissions-trading program. Facing a huge backlash, the European Union suspended the program early this year on the premise that ICAO would come up with a global solution within the year. If no global solution was implemented, the European Union said it would bring the trading-scheme back.
In anticipation of the meeting, the ICAO council has drafted the idea of regional emissions trading schemes and has said a worldwide program will be put into place by 2020, according to reports. As part of the proposed agreement, the European Union will not impose its scheme on foreign airlines flying into Europe, but will apply the new regulations to intra-European flights.
The European Low Fares Airline Association has taken issue with the intra-European provision of the idea, saying it's discriminatory. The organization is pushing for the EU to re-impose its trading scheme if ICAO fails to agree on a path forward.
"The commission's 'Stop the Clock' Derogation for one year only was conditional on the ICAO, at its General Assembly in September 2013, delivering two specific outcomes: adoption at the assembly of a road map for application of an acceptable global market-based measure, including acceptable timescale for implementation, [and the] adoption of a framework approach, permitting, in the interim, application of regional/national schemes without the need for mutual respect,” it said in a statement. “Current indications are that the ICAO is unlikely to deliver these prerequisites, and ELFAA expects the commission to honor its unequivocal, frequently-stated undertaking that the derogation was for one year only.”
For TIACA, an inclusive approach to emissions is the only way forward.
“We have repeatedly emphasized that the aviation and air cargo sectors have made significant progress over many years to implement ‘green’ solutions partly because of the responsibility we all have to protect the environment but also because such efficiencies are vital in terms of cost efficiency,” Douglas Brittin, TIACA’s new secretary general, said in a statement. “We are already delivering results and will continue to do so — and we now call upon global governments, through ICAO, to play their part by reaching a single, simple and sustainable agreement to help aviation achieve carbon neutral growth. This would be an historic agreement. We do not underestimate that there are many challenges to overcome, but the time has come to make history.” - Jon Ross