The inclusion of aviation in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) is distracting airlines from improving their green credentials, according to IATA’s boss.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s CEO, said aviation has the “most ambitious environmental commitments of any industry sector”, but is being held back by a lack of governmental support.
He added that governments are also “failing to take advantage of aviation’s ability to drive economic growth”.
The industry aims to halve its emissions by 2050, compared to 2005 levels, and according to Tyler biofuels have the “greatest potential” to contribute to this goal.
But Tyler accused governments of being distracted from focusing on improvements in green aviation, such as the manufacturing of biofuels, by the EU’s emissions plans.
“The industry needs help to turn potential into reality,” he said. “Specifically, we must work together to convince governments to take policy measures to support a framework for their success.
“Unfortunately, the attention of governments is being distracted by Europe’s unilateral plan to include international aviation in its emissions trading scheme.”
IATA supports emissions trading in principal, but wants it to be run through a globally coordinated scheme run by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Europe’s plans are proving increasingly controversial, as states are expressing their concerns over sovereignty issues – in short, whether Europe has the right to tax other nations’ carriers.
For example, the US is considering legislation to prohibit its airlines from participating.