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Carbon emissions must be cut

Airlines should be encouraged to reduce CO2 emissions says the International Air Transport Association.

"We could be saving 12 million tonnes of CO2 annually with an effective Single European Sky," says director general and ceo of IATA, Giovanni Bisignani.

Last week the European Parliament voted to include aviation in the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). This would mean airlines would have to buy credits from other companies if they exceeded the limits set on their carbon emissions.

But IATA believes that airlines outside the EU would oppose the ETS and mount legal challenges. "Regional schemes will have, at best, limited impact on the environment. And their unilateral application to foreign airlines is a clear breach of the Chicago Convention. The resulting trade and legal battles will distract governments from making real progress," says Bisgnani.

IATA claims to have saved up to 15 million tonnes of CO2 in 2006 by implementing practical measures like route shortening. "With fuel making up 28% of operating costs airlines have a $132 billion economic incentive to reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions," Bisignani adds. "Our goal is to achieve carbon neutral growth leading to a carbon-free future."

The EU's Emissions Trading Scheme will not help to reduce the aviation industry's carbon emissions concludes IATA. "Europe is single-mindedly pursuing a political agenda of emissions trading that does nothing to improve environmental performance. I don't see the European Parliament planting many trees, but somehow they have got lost in the woods," suggest Bisgnani.

Written by: Nick Purdom