Governments must stop “green grand-standing,” abandon punitive environment taxes and support global environment solutions that will actually reduce aviation’s 2 percent of global carbon emissions, the 230 airline member International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.
“Taxes don’t reduce emissions; only better operations and technology can do that,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO, addressing the Farnborough International 2008 Sustainable Aviation Briefing.
“The airline industry is in crisis," he said. "With a fuel bill of US$190 billion - one third of its costs - saving fuel is a matter of survival. Still Europe is fixated on punitive measures supposedly designed to reduce emissions. There is a rush to implement taxes, taxes and more taxes. They all have an environment label, but do nothing to reduce emissions.”
Bisignani took aim at two punitive measures: the UK Air Passenger Duty (APD) and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). “By 2010 APD could be a GBP 3.5 billion pot of honey for the UK Treasur," he said. "That’s enough to offset four years of the UK’s civil aviation emissions. The UK proposal will lead to market distortions. If this weren’t enough, the European Union emissions trading proposal will add another layer of penalties. What will all this do for the environment? Precious little. It’s time for some political honesty about where the billions are going and what they will achieve.
“We support emissions trading, but Europe’s unilateral approach is wrong," he continued. "Instead of cleaning up the environment, this will create an international legal mess. States outside Europe are already threatening legal action. Why should a U.S carrier have to pay Europe for emissions over U.S territory? Good sense has been hijacked by uncoordinated green policies,” said Bisignani.