Emissions trading scheme a bit unfair, complain airline lobbyists

Environmentalists have long complained that the Government's solution to aviation emissions, the EU emissions trading scheme is about as useful as a (vegan) chocolate teapot. That's the ETS, which will, by the EU's own account, reduce industry growth to just 78% by 2020, instead of 83%. But the aviation industry's international lobby group has decided it's the greatest threat to the industry, like, ever.

Giovanni Bisignani, head of IATA - a group set up to complain in a whiny voice whenever anyone suggests that aviation might want to stop shitting on the carpet - used to oppose the ETS as unfair. Now he's arguing that the ETS is going to lead to a patchwork of different schemes, all of which overlap and interlink, which he thinks is far worse than an international agreement. The ETS should therefore be scrapped while everyone starts all over again to work towards a multi-lateral agreement.

I should probably point out that IACO, another international aviation body, has been trying to get an international agreement for several years now. It has been a complete failure, because every country wants their own carriers exempted and everyone else's charged to the hilt. There are no signs that this situation will change, because the industry lost almost $5 billion last year thanks to the recession.

So where does all this leave us? The ETS is rubbish, and that while it exists the UK Government can keep using it as a get-out-of-jail-free card to avoid doing anything about aviation emissions. But is it better than nothing? I'm meant to say yes here, but consider this: if the industry succeeds in overturning the ETS, then the Government might actually have to do something about reducing aviation emissions. The enemy of my enemy?

Emission trading scheme - a license to print money


Sorry to go all Daily Mail on y'all, but you really couldn't make it up. The emissions trading scheme, the Government's preferred method of reducing aviation's contribution to climate change, is likely to generate up to £4 billion in windfall profits for the industry.

A report commissioned for the DfT and Defra into the effects of the ETS, reveals how the scheme will reward airlines with too many free credits, which will then be sold on by industry. The airlines are expected to use the spectre of the trading scheme to raise their own prices, charging customers for the emissions generated by their flight - despite recieving 96-97% of their current emissions in free credits.

Airlines vow to fight emissions trading scheme

Less light more planes

It had to happen. After months of pleading to be included in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), major international carriers have declared that they will fight any European plan to make them take account of their spiralling emissions.

Just days after the EU fought tooth and claw to undermine the ETS, the International Air Travel Association (IATA) has laid down the gauntlet, promising to throw its toys out of the pram if MEPs don't stop trying to avert climate change.

A loophole big enough to fly a jumbo jet through

As you're probably aware, Labour is deadly serious about climate change. They're seriously thinking about possibly making a start.

Their latest attempt comes in the form of the Climate Bill, a serious piece of legislation which will set a series of legally binding carbon budget periods lasting five years each. Unfortunately the draft target for 2050 is inadequate: a 60% reduction on 1990 levels, and more pertinently, the bill excludes Aviation - the fastest growing source of greenhouse gasses in the UK. The draft bill - before consultation - had a built-in loophole you could fly a jumbo through, and everyone knew it.

Confusion in the House of Lords

The House of Lords debated the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and aviation yesterday.

Lord Woolmer, the poor fool, who'd clearly tumbled from a rather boozy Members' Club lunch to introduce the Committee Report manages some tremendous internal inconsistencies. Compare, for instance:

"There is no case for demonising aviation and aviation emissions; they are not a current threat to tackling climate change."

with his earlier statement:

"If aviation emissions continue to grow by 3 per cent a year for 40 years, they will triple. If the growth is 4 per cent a year, they will increase by 450 per cent." It will be a "very significant [problem] by 2050."