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COP 16 Campaign May Delay Airline Industry GHG Restrictions

CANCÚN — The global airline industry is using political and marketing muscle to push U.N. leaders to establish a sectoral approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

On day two of COP16, the U.N. Secretariat laid out the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) comprehensive resolution on aviation and climate change. [link to: http://www.icao.int/icao/en/env2010/Pubs/EnvReport10.htm] The group hopes to formulate a CO2 standard by 2013.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents 230 global airlines, is urging governments to keep focused on a global treaty rather than regional approaches and to “take advantage of aviation’s role as an economic catalyst rather than using the industry as a cash cow source of funding.”

To appeal to delegates directly, the group conducted a “50 percent off” marketing campaign to promote its own strategy to halve emissions by 2050.

Valerie Davis, CEO of EnviroMedia and a U.S. business delegate to COP16, was surprised with the reach of the campaign. “I found an IATA flier dropped on the seat of my Continental Airlines flight from Houston to Cancún. It was an effective way to target a message to U.N. delegates, although it lacked clarity.” Just outside the Cancún International Airport, a similar billboard greeted visitors (see photo accompanying this story) with claims of a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

On December 1, U.S. deputy envoy Jonathan Pershing told a group of 75 American business leaders, including some from the IATA, not to worry about imminent actions from this conference. Pershing said, “There are very different views among countries.” He also noted, “There won’t be much of a decision on sectoral approaches (at COP16).” However, he believes the issue will stay on the table for future negotiations.

Last year in Copenhagen, the IATA was lobbying for a similar sectoral approach. See http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/12/10/air-transport-industry-lobbies-for-sectoral-approach-at-cop-15/

Kevin Tuerff, CEO of Green Canary Sustainability Consulting and president of EnviroMedia Social Marketing, is reporting for Environmental Leader from the UNFCCC in Cancún, Mexico.

More COP16 updates available at GreenDetectives.net.

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One thought on “COP 16 Campaign May Delay Airline Industry GHG Restrictions

  1. The tone of this article surprises me. And the facts are a bit dodgy. The international air industry, along with international marine transport has been broken out for separate ‘sectoral’ treatment since the beginning of climate change discussions. Kyoto takes that position.

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