Airline Emission Reductions
A consortium of airlines has refined its proposal to cut down on aviation industry carbon emissions in advance of the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen this December.
The Aviation Global Deal (AGD) group, which was formed in February this year by airlines eager to set out aviation carbon emissions targets, wants a global sector agreement to regulate emissions from the airline sector, which was not included under the Kyoto accord.
It has created three scenarios for UN regulators to consider when assessing emissions targets.
A 'carbon-neutral growth' target accompanies a five per cent reduction scenario and a 20 per cent reduction alternative. The three scenarios use 2005 as a base year, and span the next 11 years.
All of the scenarios would require the airlines to trade in the carbon markets. A proportion of the sector's emission allowances would be auctioned to fund climate reduction initiatives in developing countries. The group says that up to $5bn (£3bn) could be generated.
Airline emissions account for 2 percent of heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But with air travel predicted to increase, reducing greenhouse gas output from airlines has become a central policy focus in the international negotiations for a post-Kyoto treaty.
With airplanes already responsible for this two percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, climate change experts warn that the pollution emitted by this industry could increase significantly, as more and more airplanes are needed to meet the global flight demand. In addition to environmental groups and separate governments, the European Union is also pressing hard on the industry to change its ways, and create products that consume less fuel, or fly for longer on the same charge. The EU is also currently engaged in reshaping its flight paths, so as to minimize useless detours around some of its borders.
Airlines realised this year that opposing the measures was futile, and so they decided to work with policymakers, rather than against them. If they had refused to participate in any talks, then any deal that was to be made would have been imposed onto them by national authorities. Their proposal, which holds that airlines need to reduce their emission levels by 20 percent until 2020, in reference to 2005 levels, will be presented later this month at the climate change conference, held in Bonn, Germany.
The proposal also goes on to say that, “The AGD Group believes that negotiators should set a target for the international aviation sector as part of a broader global climate agreement that would cover all international flights.” They also want to have their emitted CO2 levels assessed based on the amount of fuel they buy, rather than the actual emissions coming out of the planes, and to be part of a global scheme, rather than of a “patchwork” of regional ones.