The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has blasted the decision of the European Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers to rubber stamp — and seal into law— a decision to bring air transport into the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from 2012.
The move will affect all airlines flying to and from Europe including several from South Africa and elsewhere on the continent and will add millions to their expenses at a time of global financial crisis.
“Crisis is not the time for rubber stamps. But that is exactly what the Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers used today—without a word of debate—to seal into law the EUR 3.5 billion cost of bringing airlines into the European ETS,” fumed IATA director general and CEO Giovanni Bisignani.
“It`s Brussels acting in a bubble—even in the middle of a global economic crisis,” he added.
“IATA does not oppose emissions trading. Positive economic measures are part of the industry`s four pillar strategy to address climate change. Along with economic measures, we need to improve efficiency with technology, operations and infrastructure.
“While Brussels has been fast to introduce its regional ETS scheme, it has been slow to improve efficiency. We need the same urgency to deliver an effective Single European Sky that would save billions of Euros in cost and 16 million tonnes of CO2 annually. That we have been waiting decades for this is Europe`s biggest environmental embarrassment,` adds the IATA boss.
Bisignani highlighted the need for a global approach that is fair and effective. “In the most recent G8 declaration, Prime Minister Berlusconi, Prime Minister Brown, Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy supported ICAO`s leadership to deliver a global solution for aviation and the environment. Now we need to see some supporting action.
“The best way to a global solution is through ICAO`s Group on International Aviation and Climate Change (GIACC). Brussels must support the success of this process,” said Bisignani.
He also noted the inclusion of aviation in Europe`s general review of its ETS programmes.
“Reviewing the effectiveness of emissions trading where programmes have been operational has value. But what enlightened decisions can we expect from a review that will conclude even before today`s decision takes effect in 2012?”
“Far better that we address this on the basis of experience than speculation.”