From: Gulf News
Published January 19, 2009 09:06 AM

UN aviation agency presses global emissions trading plan

Tokyo: The UN's aviation agency is pressing on with developing the framework for a global emissions trading scheme despite a growing number of regional and national schemes, a top official for the group said on Friday.

Emissions from international aviation fall outside reduction commitments of the Kyoto Protocol but will be part of a new and broader UN climate pact that about 190 nations will try to agree at the end of the year.

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Last autumn, European Union (EU) governments included aviation in the bloc's trading scheme, a key tool in its programme to fight climate change, but a top official of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) told Reuters in an interview that it does not see the scheme as a rival. "ICAO is a global organisation, it is not a regional organisation, we have to work on a global basis and this is our responsibility," said Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, president of the ICAO's Council.

He said the establishment of the trading scheme for the EU region could contribute to the development of a global scheme for emissions trading. "It means we don't have to start from zero."

Transport ministers from 21 major countries held a three-day meeting in Tokyo that ended on Friday.

The delegates, including EU officials, said they agreed to support the ICAO's framework of using technological, operational and market-based methods to reduce greenhouse gases from international aviation.

Airlines contribute about two per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, but are likely to make up a larger proportion in the future, despite the increasing aircraft efficacy, due to growing demand for air travel.

The Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines, representing 17 carriers in the region, backs emissions trading but only if there is a global scheme that applies to all carriers. The association rejects piecemeal efforts, such as Britain's airline passenger tax or the EU's plan to include aviation from 2012 in the 27-nation bloc's emissions trading scheme, because it will affect some airlines but not others.

The association deems the EU plan unfair because all airlines flying into and out of EU airports will be included, meaning Asian carriers using European airspace will have to pay based on the pollution emitted during the whole journey, for example from Sydney to Paris for a Qantas flight.

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