A May 7 Reuters report says that carbon trading and increased regulation actually could hinder innovative efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes. Reuters was quoting remarks made by airline industry leaders at an aviation conference held in Britain on May 6.
Airplanes are said to account for an estimated 2% to 4% of global carbon dioxide emissions, which some scientists say could cause global temperatures to rise. “It is a small part of the problem but it’s a very visible part of the problem, and therefore it’s vulnerable to the wrong sort of policies being made,” Paul Steele, executive director of the Air Transport Action Group, told a conference concerning aviation and climate change issues, held by the British Airports Authority.
Governments will meet later this year in Copenhagen to carve out a new treaty on climate change to succeed the Kyoto Protocol after it expires in 2012. Some government agencies say that, although aviation makes up a relatively small part of global emissions, it has the potential to grow if unaddressed.
“If left unchecked, global aviation emissions could reach 2.4 billion tons of in 2050, which would be 15% to 20% of all CO2 permitted under a global agreement,” said Ben Combes of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, adding that this would be a nearly four-fold increase on current levels. As a result, the European Union approved the inclusion of aviation under its Emissions Trading Scheme, scheduled to take effect in 2012.
Airplane manufacturers said they are investing in new technology, including better fuel-efficiency and the development of bio-jet fuels. The problem, they say, is that they have not managed to communicate this to regulatory agencies and the public.
“We have a story to tell and we need to get out there and tell it even more clearly and succinctly than we have in the past,” said Roger Bone, head of Boeing’s UK operations.
“Technologies already on the drawing board show potential by 2020 to reduce CO2 by 30%…a single aircraft powered by this engine saves the equivalent to planting 250,000 trees,” said Robert Nuttall of engine-makers Rolls Royce.
Under the European plan, all aircraft flying into and out of EU airports will have emissions capped at 97% of their 2004-2006 average and will be forced to buy carbon permits to cover any excess. With global air traffic set to double by 2020, the EU is keen to apply the “polluter pays” principle.
On the other hand, there are legitimate worries that those plans will clash with climate legislation proposed in other countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. “We’re not against emissions trading per se, [but] what we’re seeing right now is that multiple overlapping trading schemes are going to create problems for [the aviation] industry,” Steele said.
To read the Reuters report: www.earth-stream.com/outpage.php?s=18&id=166068