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IATA 2013: Airlines herald landmark call to curb emissions

IATA 2013: Airlines herald landmark call to curb emissions

Airlines at the IATA AGM have unanimously backed a call for an emissions market to offset growth in their greenhouse gases after 2020, in a move hailed a landmark effort to address the environmental impact of the industry.

IATA members have adopted a resolution in favour of a market-based mechanism to help address airlines’ emissions.

IATA produced the proposal before a September gathering of the United Nations’ aviation panel that will consider the industry’s tools to fight climate change.

Willie Walsh, chief executive, International Consolidated Airlines Group, said that it was “vitally important” to send a strong message that “we are an industry determined to address environmental performance, determined to continue to show leadership and determined to play our part in shaping a fair and equitable solution to this global problem”.

Willie Walsh, left, with Akbar Al Baker, chief executive, Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker is also strongly backing the move for a collective push by the aviation industry to tackle climate change.

The IATA resolution comes as representatives of governments in the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation to secure a deal to reduce air industry pollution.

Countries across the world are seeking a global pact after protesting the inclusion of foreign flights in the European Union’s emissions-trading system last year.

The bloc deferred the carbon curbs to help the ICAO talks.

Etihad Airways chief James Hogan, centre left, leads the discussion

Verified emissions reported by airlines in the EU were almost 84 million tons in 2012, or about four per cent of the total in the bloc’s program, the European Commission said on May 16th .

IATA’s endorsement of a market-based tool to cut pollution is hailed as a significant contribution by the private sector.

The post-2020 program would set the market’s emissions baseline at the average of greenhouse-gas output in the three years through 2020, IATA said.

The resolution was backed by an “overwhelming” majority of airline executives voting at the meeting, according to IATA chairman and Qantas Airways chief Alan Joyce.

Airlines supporting the move included Air Canada.

However Air India and Air China both voiced concerns.

Market-based measures for airlines should be considered only as a secondary tool and as a part of a broader package of measures to cut greenhouse gases, Air India chairman Nandan Rohit said.