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Major airlines call for a global approach to aviation emissions at Copenhagen

Date
12 February 2009

Four of the world's leading airlines today called for {CO2} emissions from international aviation to be included in a new global climate deal. The agreement will be negotiated by world leaders at the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen in December.

Emissions from international aviation, which currently contribute around 2 per cent of global {CO2} emissions (source: IPCC), were not included in the Kyoto Protocol commitments and are not currently managed under an international climate change treaty.

The new industry coalition, the Aviation Global Deal (AGD) Group, brings together Air France/KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic and airport operator BAA. At its first Asia Pacific meeting in Hong Kong the Group published a communiqué calling for a pragmatic, fair and effective global policy solution for the sector, as a contribution to the UN International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) preparations for climate change negotiations in Copenhagen.

Signatories to the communiqué say that a new global climate deal for aviation must:

  • Offer genuine environmental benefits;
  • Be operationally and economically sound;
  • Maintain competitiveness between airlines and avoid market distortions;
  • Reflect the UN climate change principle of 'common but differentiated responsibilities' between countries with different levels of development;
  • Balance the social and economic benefits of flying with the industry's responsibility to cut global emissions and play its part in meeting tough climate change targets;
  • Reflect the work of ICAO's Group on International Aviation and Climate Change (GIACC) and IATA's strategy for reducing emissions.

Speaking on behalf of the AGD Group, Tony Tyler, Chief Executive of Cathay Pacific Airways said: "Aviation has a key part to play in reducing global emissions and for too long has been seen as part of the climate problem rather than part of the solution. We hope the work of our group will offer a practical industry-led solution that creates a level-playing field and appeal to policy-makers, environmental groups and businesses alike."

The Group's work is supported by {theclimategroup}, an international NGO working with government and business to break political deadlock around a global climate deal.

Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, said: "Tackling climate change requires all sectors of the economy to contribute. The aviation industry has a major role to play in shaping a successful international climate policy and by making a fair and equitable contribution it must help provide finance for the reduction of emissions in other sectors, reduced emissions from deforestation and support for adaptation. The launch of the AGD Group is an important and welcome step towards helping countries to agree an environmentally robust approach to the sector's international emissions."

The AGD Group aims to build support from other international carriers, industry and environmental stakeholders, and complement the work of ICAO.

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