The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) has slammed the European Union’s (EU) controversial Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for being regionally minded and violating international laws.
TIACA has written to the EU’s climate action commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, requesting the suspension of the ETS and a more global agreement to be reached with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) instead.
The International Air Cargo Association has called the ETS a violation of international law and treaties, which “encroaches upon the sovereign authority of each State over its own airspace.”
From 1 January 2012 any airline landing or taking off inside the EU will have to take part in the EU’s emissions trading scheme, which involves them paying a fee for any emissions that exceed a set cap.
TIACA also said that the ETS goes against the Chicago Convention which prohibits any levies on international flights except on a cost basis “related to the provision of facilities and services for civil aviation.”
According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), the cost to airlines of purchasing the necessary carbon allowances for the ETS will rise from $1.3 billion in 2012 to $3.5 billion in 2020.
However, according to TIACA, “there is no requirement that EU Member States must use these revenues to reduce carbon emissions – either from aviation or any other sector – nor that they dedicate the money to any environmental effort at all.”
Furthermore, TIACA has hit out against the scheme claiming it is “unlikely to improve the environment.
It said: “Ironically, the EU ETS will cripple the industry’s ability to continue investing on its own in greener technologies.
“In recent years, the industry has made impressive progress in reducing emissions, largely through utilization of more efficient aircraft and operating procedures.
“The cost of EU ETS emissions allowances will divert crucial monies away from investment in such initiatives.”
Additionally, TIACA said the scheme could lead to some unintended consequences such as encouraging carriers to fly less direct routes that could in turn increase aviation carbon emissions.
For example, the association said that a direct flight from Hong Kong to Amsterdam has 5% lower emissions than the same flight with a stopover in Moscow. However, the stopover would sharply reduce the airline’s emissions charges – thereby benefiting the airline’s bottom line, but not the environment.
Oliver Evans, vice chairman of TIACA said: “A better way forward is to take a global approach.
“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 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
“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.”