Until now, the push for aviation emissions to be included in world climate talks was led by the airlines themselves. Now Australia has put its weight behind an initiative, one of four separate proposals regarding aviation emissions currently on the table.
The Australian proposal is gaining appeal because there is internal wrangling among members of the primary industry group calling for standards, reports The Guardian U.K.
The Aviation Global Deal Group, which includes Air France/KLM, British Airways, Cathay and Virgin Atlantic, has a stated goal that any global climate treaty include an aviation component.
World climate leaders sit down at Copenhagen in December. If the Australia plan is adopted, airlines would come under carbon regulation in 2011, a year earlier than what will be required by the European Union.
Aviation emissions would be overseen by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which also is overseeing the treaty talks at large.
British Airways has said that any global aviation emissions scheme would drive up fares as airlines pass on to consumers the multibillion-dollar cost of carbon credits.
Greenpeace called it “essential” that governments cease special treatment for the aviation industry and “include them in a strong Copenhagen treaty.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) at a recent board meeting said it would achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020 through a combination of investment in technology, biofuels and economic measures such as carbon trading. Airlines also project that carbon trading will cost the industry about $7 billion from 2020, based on a carbon price of $65 a metric ton in 2020.