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Airlines call on UN to impose carbon caps

| Sourced From Business Green |

BA, Cathay Pacific, Air France/KLM and Virgin Atlantic to present UN with proposals for global aviation cap-and-trade scheme

They might be regarded as environmental pariahs by many green groups, but four of the world’s largest airlines will today call on governments to impose demanding carbon caps on their industry as part of any post-Kyoto deal.

The Aviation Global Deal group, which includes British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Air France/KLM and Virgin Atlantic, as well as airport operator BAA and NGO The Climate Group, will present a draft policy framework to negotiators at the close of the UN climate change talks in Bonn, Germany, calling for an ” ambitious, equitable and effective” regime of emission caps.

The proposals call for a global cap-and-trade scheme for the industry that avoids a “patchwork of regional initiatives” and provides clear incentives for airlines to cut carbon emissions.

It also recommends that airlines’ CO2 emissions are calculated on the carbon content of its annual fuel purchases in order to incentivise the development of new low carbon fuels such as biofuels, and calls for the revenue raised through the scheme to be earmarked for investment in climate change adaptation and mitigation schemes and green aviation R&D.

Mark Kenber, policy director at The Climate Group, hailed the move as “a significant step forward” that proved that leading aviation players had ” constructive ideas about how to transition to a low carbon economy”.

The presentation of the policy framework comes just days after the Air Transport Action Group, which includes the world’s leading airlines, aircraft and engine manufacturers, airports and air traffic control organisations, closed its annual summit in Switzerland with the release of a communiqué also calling on the UN to develop a global approach to cutting aviation emissions.

“Delegates urged governments to take a global sectoral approach for aviation rather than the current patchwork of national and regional emissions management schemes,” said Paul Steele, executive director of the Air Transport Action Group. “Such schemes are generally ineffective in reducing emissions, are complicated for a global industry to administer and could lead to competitive distortion.”

The communiqué also called for an industry wide push for greater use of biofuels, and set the industry a target to develop to sustainability criteria for biofuels by the end of the year that would ensure that “any biofuel feedstock supplying the industry did not compete for land or water with food crops”.

It was issued at the end of a summit that saw a deal finalised that will see fuel saving continuous descent approach procedures implemented at 100 European airports by 2013, saving an estimated half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. It was followed by the launch of a global project to implement satellite-controlled Performance Based Navigation (PBN) that should result in further significant emissions cuts through the wider optimisation of routes.

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