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Aviation emissions group gains momentum

airplane-wingFinnair and Qatar Airways are the latest airline companies to join the Aviation Global Deal (AGD) Group, which seeks to develop a global policy for tackling aviation emissions.

Other members of the group include Air France – KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, airport operator BAA and The Climate Group, an international non-governmental organisation.

“As one of the fastest growing airlines in the world we have a responsibility to ensure that our carbon footprint remains as low as possible, hence as part of our CSR programme, ‘The Oryx Flies Green,’ we strive for carbon neutral growth,” said Chris Schroeder, senior manager of corporate social responsibility, environment & fuel optimisation for Qatar Airways. “The aviation industry has to do its part to reduce the overall carbon footprint but we do not see how this can be achieved by unilateral enforced emission trading schemes, hence we fully support a global solution for the aviation industry. We are fully committed to the work and the goal of the AGD, which shows how serious the industry is about this matter that affects all of us globally.”

Last month, the AGD Group hosted an event alongside the UN negotiating session in Bonn, Germany, to present ideas on including international aviation emissions in a post-Kyoto deal to be negotiated in Copenhagen in December.

The group’s proposal aims to support the work of the International Air Transport Association and the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation, which has been tasked by governments to find a way to deal with aviation emissions.

The AGD Group is recommending a global sectoral agreement that covers carbon dioxide emissions from all international air transport providers. Net emissions reductions could then be achieved by setting a global emissions reduction target for the sector and allocating allowances to airlines, which they can top up, if necessary, through the purchase of carbon credits. An international body would administer the system.

“In order to actually achieve emissions reductions in aviation, an emissions trading deal must be global,” said Kati Ihamäki, Finnair’s vice president of sustainable development. “A deal covering only certain airlines or certain geographical areas distorts competition and potentially encourages less eco-efficient operating procedures such as intermediate landings in non-optimal locations outside the emissions trading area. Aviation Global Deal is the right step towards fewer emissions in the future.”

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