Officials from The International Air Cargo Association have spoken out about the European Union’s contentious Emissions Trading Scheme, imploring the EU to drop the legislation in favor of a carbon emissions agreement with the International Civil Aviation Organization.
In an open letter to European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, TIACA officials outlined their reservations with the EU ETS, which is scheduled to begin on January 1. Under the legislation, carriers utilizing European airspace will be forced to purchase carbon allowances from the regional alliance.
Calling the scheme illegal, TIACA officials wrote that the ETS violates international law and “encroaches upon the sovereign authority of each state over its own airspace.” TIACA executives also argued that the ETS is a catch-22: Instead of improving the environment, the scheme will actually prevent the aviation industry from investing in sustainable technologies.
And the cost to carriers will be outrageous, TIACA members explained in the letter. In fact, International Air Transport Association executives estimate that the cost of purchasing carbon allowances will surge $2.2 billion by 2020, rising from $1.3 billion to $3.5 billion.
Blasting the ETS, TIACA Vice Chairman Oliver Evans outlined what he considers a better way to promote sustainability and lower carbon emissions.
“We firmly believe that aviation emissions must be addressed through a global framework and that the appropriate body for developing such an approach is the ICAO,” Evans said in a statement. “The Kyoto Protocol designated ICAO as the body with authority to set international aviation’s greenhouse gas policy, and we urge all ICAO members to expedite negotiations to expand on, complete and implement such a global framework to address aviation carbon emissions.”
TIACA Chairman Michael Steen shares Evans’ sentiments. In addition to touting the achievements of the global aviation sector in conserving fuel, Steen also mentioned how today’s aircraft are 90-percent quieter than original commercial planes. Such accomplishments shouldn’t be overlooked, he explained.
Something else that shouldn’t be overlooked is how the EU ETS could affect global trade, Steen maintained. “Air cargo is a mature and responsible industry that plays an indispensable role in world commerce, accounting for 35 percent of world trade by value,” he said in a statement. “We sincerely hope the commissioner will take on board our strong views and the alternative way forward proposed by our industry.”