US aviation rounds on Europe emissions scheme

By Megan Kuhn

Europe's unilateral action to include international aviation within its emissions training scheme has come under direct fire for the first time by the US aviation industry, which insists emissions targets should be determined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The group of 20 mostly US-based airline, manufacturer and airport trade groups say any revenues raised from such market-based measures should be "reinvested into aviation to support initiatives that directly reduce aviation's greenhouse gas footprint and for research into technologies that are directly applicable to improving aviation's emissions".

Meanwhile, the forthcoming global climate change talks weighed heavily on the special aviation group tasked with making recommendations to ICAO before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change sets new greenhouse gas targets after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

"Copenhagen was a big topic", says Nancy LoBue of the Federal Aviation Administration and US formal representative on the 15-member Group on International Aviation and Climate Change (GIACC), referring to the UNFCCC summit in December. "There was much conversation in the latest talks about how aviation fits into the larger framework and climate change talks. With governments wanting to look at big picture policy before finalising aviation policy, the question was raised, how can GIACC move forward with nailing down specifics?"

The European states are understood to be disappointed with GIACC's failure to make any substantive progress in setting goals. "New working groups have, however, been set up to look at what goals can be set and to explore options on market-based measures to assist addressing aviation emissions," says a senior European Union source, who adds. "There is still the opportunity for GIACC to produce a positive outcome, but the world rightly expects that ICAO will demonstrate the leadership on climate change which it claims - and it will be clearly noticeable if it fails to live up to its own rhetoric."

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