The Global Air Cargo Advisory Group has spoken out about the contentious EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which tariffs carriers flying into European airspace starting this month. Citing the potential ramifications of the legislation, GACAG officials fear the EU ETS will place unnecessary burdens on the airfreight industry, instead of sustaining it.
Although GACAG — a coalition encompassing leaders from the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), the International Air Transport Association, The International Air Cargo Association and the Global Shippers’ Forum — supports carbon-reduction programs, it opposes the exclusivity of the EU ETS.
The U.S., Chinese and Indian governments have reinforced this viewpoint, challenging the legality of the scheme. These leaders have also encouraged the EU to abandon the ETS and develop international carbon standards through ICAO, which received such authority via the Kyoto Protocol.
“The Global Air Cargo Advisory Group wholeheartedly agrees with this position,” GSF Secretary General Chris Welsh said in a statement. “The absence of an international framework will be chaotic and will unnecessarily cost the air cargo industry and its customers tens of millions of dollars at a time when the global economy is so fragile, and when every effort is being made to stimulate global demand.”
The ETS could essentially cripple the entire airfreight sector, Welsh said. Even though the world depends on time-sensitive shipments by air — such as pharmaceuticals, fresh produce or healthcare equipment — elevated prices brought on by the ETS could destroy business, Welsh explained. “Worldwide demand for air cargo services, considered by economists to be a barometer of the state of the global economy, shows the recovery is weak,” he said in a statement. This indicates that consumers won’t be able to afford the elevated prices, he remarked.
“The EU needs to fully evaluate the wider economic consequences of its actions before pressing ahead with the EU ETS,” Welsh continued.
Officials from TIACA, Airlines for America and IATA have also criticized the EU ETS as a moneymaking scheme and endorsed a global approach led by the ICAO.