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Momentum builds for a global solution to aviation emissions

Date
05 May 2009

Finnair and Qatar Airways have announced that they are joining the Aviation Global Deal (AGD) Group.

They will enter discussions alongside Air France - KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, airport operator BAA and international NGO {theclimategroup} to develop a global policy for tackling aviation emissions.

The announcement illustrates the momentum that is now building to develop a way forward on how emissions from the sector could be tackled under a global deal on climate change.

Last month, the AGD Group hosted an event alongside the UN negotiating session in Bonn, Germany, to present their ideas on including international aviation emissions in a post-Kyoto deal to be negotiated in Copenhagen in December. Their proposal was well received by UN negotiators and other industry stakeholders and the group is now working towards finalising its recommendations in June.

The AGD Group's proposal is intended to support the work of the International Air Transport Association (IATA); and the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which has been tasked by governments with finding appropriate solutions to tackling aviation emissions.

The basic mechanism proposed by the AGD Group is a global sectoral agreement covering carbon dioxide emissions from all international air transport providers. Net emissions reductions will be achieved by setting a global emissions reduction target for the sector and allocating allowances to airlines, which they can top up, if necessary, through the purchase of carbon credits. An international body will administer the system.

Finnair's VP, Sustainable Development, Kati Ihamäki said, "In order to actually achieve emissions reductions in aviation, an emissions trading deal must be global. A deal covering only certain airlines or certain geographical areas distorts competition and potentially encourages less eco-efficient operating procedures such as intermediate landings in non-optimal locations outside the emissions trading area. Aviation Global Deal is the right step towards fewer emissions in the future."

Chris Schroeder, Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environment & Fuel Optimization, Qatar Airways, said, "As one of the fastest growing airlines in the world we have a responsibility to ensure that our carbon footprint remains as low as possible, hence as part of our CSR programme "The Oryx Flies Green" we strive for carbon neutral growth. The aviation industry has to do its part to reduce the overall carbon footprint but we do not see how this can be achieved by unilateral enforced emission trading schemes, hence we fully support a global solution for the aviation industry. We are fully committed to the work and the goal of the AGD, which shows how serious the industry is about this matter that affects all of us globally."

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