A global offsetting mechanism to limit the climate impact from flights should replace the growing number of regional regulations, according to airline association IATA.
“If a system can work for international aviation emissions, nothing prevents states from voluntarily including their emissions in such a scheme as well,” Andreas Hardeman, IATA’s assistant director of environment policy told the Argus European Emissions Markets Conference in Amsterdam on Thursday.
“Once states have agreed on a global scheme, other schemes which also target those emissions effectively become redundant,” he added.
Amid pressure from major trading partners, the EU watered down plans to regulate all flights using its airports to intra-European domestic flights.
But since then, South Korea and Shanghai have included aviation in their own schemes, and China and the US are examining ways of regulating their flight emissions, risking a complicated regulatory, patchwork-like regime for globally-focused airlines.
Countries have agreed to let UN aviation body ICAO craft an offsetting system by 2016 to take effect from 2020 to help the sector achieve carbon neutral growth and a 50% cut in emissions on 2010 levels by 2050.
Hardeman said for just including international flight emissions in such a system would require offsetting 300 million tonnes of CO2e a year by 2030.
The ICAO working groups are still discussing what kind of offsetting instruments could be used under the system, though observers have speculated that credits generated under the UNFCCC’s CDM are the most likely units to soak up demand.
“I personally wouldn’t be surprised if what comes out of it would be very, very close to what the UNFCCC has,” Hardeman added.
By Ben Garside – firstname.lastname@example.org