The chorus of denouncements has, at times, been deafening, and it’s only getting louder. I am, of course, talking about the number of airlines, organizations, governments and seemingly every other agency or company that has anything to do with the airline industry coming out against the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme.
In October, we devoted a feature to the impending rule — which places aviation within the EU’s emissions-cap program — and the impact it would have on the aviation industry. It seemed like nobody outside the European government liked it then, and nobody likes it now. But despite the anti-ETS letters, public statements and press releases that seem to occur ever-more frequently each day, the EU has stood pat.
While the aviation world hasn’t moved on, and the International Civil Aviation Organization is still working very hard toward a new consensus rule on emissions, carriers, manufacturers and other industry players are now exploring solutions on their own. Tony Tyler, CEO of the International Air Transport Association, fully endorsed this tactic last month, as he has many times before.
“Aviation has committed to three targets, the most ambitious of which is to cut net emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005. We cannot do that without government cooperation. As aviation is a global industry, that cooperation must be coordinated through ICAO,” he said.
So with many things, it seems like we’re now in a waiting game. Carbon emissions will go down, and the air cargo industry will enter the next decade with a vastly cleaner and greener supply chain than when it entered the last. However the ETS boils out is anyone’s guess, but at least the industry has moved beyond simply talking about cleaning up the skies and has started doing something about it.
For proof that a greener horizon is around the corner, look no further than the slew of biofuel test flights now being put on by carriers around the world. Bitter manufacturing rivals are also learning how to work together toward a common goal of more environmentally friendly fuel.
This month, we’ve written about the brave new green world starting on page 40. In our reporting, we’ve found that there’s no doubt the industry will achieve the goals outlined by IATA; the only question is, how soon will it get there?