ETS Vote: The Wrong Answer
Geneva – The International Air
Transport Association (IATA) severely criticised today’s European
Parliament vote to bring aviation into the European Emissions Trading
absolutely the wrong answer to the very serious issue of environment,”
said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “We support
emissions trading, but not this decision. Europe has taken the wrong
approach, with the wrong conditions at the wrong time.”
Wrong Approach: Europe’s unilateral and extra-territorial
approach will apply ETS to all aircraft flying to or from Europe. Without
international agreement this will only spark international legal battles.
“What right does Europe have to impose ETS charges on, for example, an
Australian carrier flying from Asia to Europe for emissions over the
Middle East? Article 1 of the Chicago Convention prohibits this. And it
goes against Article 2 of the Kyoto Protocol. Fuelling legal battles and
trade wars is no way to help the environment. Already over 130 states have
vowed to oppose it. The only successful way forward for ETS is as the
drafters of Kyoto envisaged. That’s a global scheme brokered through the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),” said Bisignani.
Wrong Conditions: In its first year of operation, the ETS will
add EUR3.5 billion to industry costs and this will rise year-on-year.
There is no guarantee that any of the funds generated will be earmarked
for environmental purposes. Today’s decision only indicates that revenues
generated from the auctioning of allowances “should” be used to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. “It’s the weakest possible language. The
plain fact is that the only sure beneficiaries of the EUR 3.5 billion cost
will be national government coffers. There is no assurance that any of the
money will go to environmental programmes. It’s time for Europe’s
politicians to be honest. This is a punitive tax put in place by
politicians who want to paint themselves green. Worse, it’s not even part
of a coordinated European policy. This tax will come on top of the UK’s
Air Passenger Duty and the Dutch Air Passenger Tax. Rather than double or
triple charging for emissions, governments should focus on solutions to
improve environmental performance,” said Bisignani.
Wrong Time: With oil trading above US$140 a barrel and jet fuel
above US$170 per barrel, the industry fuel bill for 2008 will be at least
US$190 billion. “Airlines are struggling to reduce fuel burn to survive.
Adding an extra EUR 3.5 billion to industry costs will not produce any
better results. If Europe is serious about environment, it would move
forward quickly with the Single European Sky proposal. By the Commission’s
own calculation, this would save up to 16 million tonnes of CO2, reduce
delays and improve environmental performance,” said Bisignani.
committed to effective measures to reduce the 2% of carbon emissions
attributed to aviation. “Reducing fuel burn to improve environmental
performance is a top priority. IATA’s four-pillar strategy to address
climate change is now an industry commitment that does just that.
Emissions trading is one small part of a comprehensive strategy that
includes investing in technology, improving operations, building efficient
infrastructure and using positive economic measures,” said Bisignani.
is on results. Last year the strategy saved at least 10.5 million tonnes
of CO2. Our target is a 25% improvement in fuel efficiency by 2020. And we
are working towards carbon-neutral growth with a vision for a carbon-free
future. Europe’s tunnel-vision focus on a unilateral, punitive and illegal
ETS may help some government budgets, but it will do little if anything to
improve environmental performance. It’s time for Europe to re-focus,” said