But sustainability is aviation's license to grow, Tyler adds. “With that understanding and a firm focus on the future, airlines found an historic agreement,” he says. “This industry agreement should help to relieve the political gridlock on this important issue and give governments momentum and a set of tools as they continue their difficult deliberations.”
The framework was adopted by a large majority of IATA's 240 member airlines (representing 84% of global air traffic) at the body's annual general meeting here last week. Only a handful of carriers, including three Chinese operators and Air India, voted against it. Air China argued that the proposal does not sufficiently take into account the difference between operators in developing and developed countries.
The principles of the resolution include:
•Setting the industry and individual carrier baselines using the average annual total emissions in 2018–20.
•Agreeing to provisions/adjustments for recognizing early movers, benchmarked for 2005–20 with a sunset by 2025; accommodating new market entrants for their initial years of operation; and fast-growing carriers.
•Adopting an equitable balance for determining individual carrier responsibilities that includes consideration of an “emissions share” element (reflecting the carrier's share of total industry emissions) and a post-2020 “growth” element (reflecting the carrier's growth above baseline emissions).
•Reporting and verifying carbon emissions based on a global standard to be developed by ICAO that is simple and scalable to the size and complexity of the operator.
The IATA principles agreed upon apply to emissions growth post-2020. EU officials have welcomed the proposal for a single mandatory offsetting system, but they point out the need for an interim solution until 2020. “The IATA proposal is very useful,” says Jos Delbeke, director general of climate action at the European Commission. “It is a welcome input, yet it fails on two main issues: what is included in this global mechanism and the time frame. The cut-off date [for a mandatory offsetting system to start] is presumably 2020, but we're in 2013. Hence, the need for a framework on MBMs to bridge the seven-year gap.”
According to EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, the agreement sends a “very strong message that [the] airline industry seems ready to support a global MBM. [It is] time for governments to match it and deliver in ICAO.”