EU ETS threatens aviation emissions progress: A4A

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Published: July 19, 2012

A “poster child” for sustainable development, the aviation industry is continually progressing toward sustainability, Airlines for America (A4A) VP-Environmental Affairs Nancy Young told attendees at ATW ‘s 5th Annual Eco-Aviation Conference in Washington DC June 21 —but she noted it is a journey that could be hindered by the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

Twenty years after the 1992 “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro, which was “regarded as a foundational pillar of sustainable development principles,” aviation has made significant strides in its environmental efforts, but the EU ETS scheme poses a threat to advancing “the right kind of measures to further address” aviation emission reductions, Young said.

“This unilateral action violates a key principle adopted at the 1992 Summit stating: ‘unilateral actions to deal with environmental challenges outside the jurisdiction of the importing country should be avoided. Environmental measures addressing transboundary or global environmental problems should, as far as possible, be based on an international consensus,’” Young said.

Rather than the “EU jurisdictional grab over aviation emissions,” A4A, along with worldwide aviation coalition, has a proposal for addressing aviation CO2 though a harmonized approach, Young said.

This “global sectoral approach” proposal targets annual average fuel-efficiency improvement of 1.5% through 2020 and carbon-neutral growth from 2020—subject to government infrastructure and technology investments such as air traffic control modernization—with the goal of a 50% reduction in CO2 by 2050, relative to 2005 levels. Implementation of this framework could be agreed to at the ICAO Assembly in September 2013, Young noted.

“Through direct and coalition diplomatic efforts, the Obama administration has given the EU every chance to withdraw or stay its unilateral scheme,” Young said. But the EU has snubbed these diplomatic efforts … the United States must now take concrete legal action under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention to overturn the application of the EU ETS as to US airlines and to bring the EU back to the table in support of a global framework under ICAO.”

Click here to read the full speech text.

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