Airlines Commit to Carbon Neutral Growth by 2020

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Monday the world’s airlines have committed to carbon neutral growth by 2020. 

The global aviation body outlined a four-pronged approach to reducing carbon dioxide emissions that includes investment in technology and economic measures, such as carbon trading. The IATA also said it wants emissions to be accounted for on a global basis–rather than nation by nation–so that no airline has a competitive advantage over another, based on its region of operation. 

Aviation emissions currently are responsible for about 2% of global
carbon dioxide emissions, and the industry expects continued growth
through the next decade.

Giovanni Bisignani, head of the IATA, said, "Demand will continue to
increase, but any expansion of our carbon footprint will be
compensated."

The IATA said it expects carbon trading to cost the industry roughy $7 billion a year from 2020. That projection is based on an assumed carbon price of $65 a metric ton. That price is much higher than the current benchmark of about $18 per metric ton. 

IATA board member Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways, said that figure was based on the assumption that demand for carbon credits will be much higher in 2020.

The aviation industry is likely to be included in the international climate change treaty currently being negotiated to replace the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. 

The European Union has already determined that the industry will be responsible for participating in its carbon trading scheme beginning in 2012. 

Bisignani said cooperation from allied industries and governments was needed to help airlines play their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

"Air navigation service providers must make it possible to fly even more effectively. Fuel companies must supply eco-friendly fuels and governments must give us access to credits in global carbon markets," he said.

IATA members previously commited to improving fuel efficiency 1.5% a year until 2020.

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