IATA AGM: Carbon neutral air transport growth by 2020 is IATA target
The IATA board of directors has passed a motion for the industry to achieve carbon neutral growth by 2020, announced the Association’s director general Giovanni Bisignani at the IATA AGM in Kuala Lumpur today.
“Demand will continue to increase, but any expansion of our carbon footprint will be compensated,” Bisignani declared. “Airlines are the first global industry to make such a bold commitment.”
Bisignani noted that in 2009, the industry’s carbon emissions are expected to fall by 7%. “Five per cent from reduced capacity as a result of the recession and 2% as a result of strategy,” he reported.
Airlines, he added, are doing “amazing work” on biofuels, which he claimed have the potential to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint by 80%. “But where are governments?” he enquired. “Of the trillions of dollars in stimulus funds, there is nothing on aviation biofuels.
“The US is investing $25 million in research, but it’s peanuts. Oil companies, which cashed $48 billion in refinery margins from aviation, are not moving fast enough. Their investment in alternative fuels is also peanuts.
“Some governments are learning,” he acknowledged. “The €318 million Dutch tax cost the economy €1.2 billion, but did nothing for the environment. The Dutch had the good sense to abolish it. I wish I could say the same for the UK where Air Passenger Duty was increased to £2.7 billion. It is unacceptable that money collected from our responsible industry in the name of the environment is being used by an irresponsible government to pay inflated MP expense claims or bail out banks,” he scorned.
Bisignani proposed accounting for emissions at a global level rather than by state. “IATA will work with ICAO to ensure compliance,” he confirmed. “Airlines should get carbon credits for every cent they pay, whether in taxes, charges or emissions trading scheme payments. We should only pay once, not several times.
“This industry is a role model for others to follow,” he concluded. “The challenge will be for governments to catch up.”
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net