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Airlines seek to downplay global warming impact of aviation

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  • Mike Neuman
    Airlines seek to downplay global warming impact of aviation 26 April 2006 - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) wants to kill some persistent
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2006
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      Airlines seek to downplay global warming impact of aviation

      26 April 2006 - The International Air Transport Association (IATA)
      wants to "kill some persistent myths" on the issue. Their arguments
      are rebutted by environmentalists who claim that the figures are


      With air traffic and related greenhouse gas emissions growing
      steadily, the Commission suggested last year capping CO2 emissions
      for all airplanes departing from EU airports (EurActiv 27 Sept.
      2005). The proposal, expected to be formally tabled later this year,
      would set a cap on CO2 emissions from airlines and allow them to
      trade their surplus 'pollution credits' on the EU-wide 'carbon
      market' (Emissions Trading Scheme, EU-ETS).


      The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated in
      a 1999 report that air traffic contributes to about 3.5% of the total
      human activities linked to climate change. This share is expected to
      grow to 5% by 2050.
      In Europe, the share of aviation in greenhouse gas emissions is still
      modest, at about 3% of the total, according to the European
      Commission. But it is concerned that emissions are growing faster
      than in any other sector and risk undermining progress achieved
      through emission cuts in other areas of the economy, mainly in the
      energy sector and energy-intensive industries.


      The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents
      the global airline industry, on 25 April issued a 5-point brief aimed
      at killing what it describes as "some persistent myths" about the
      environmental impact of aviation.

      The five "myths" identified by IATA centre around allegations that
      air transport is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Here are
      some of the figures that IATA puts forward to "debunk" the myths:
      Air transport contributes a small part of global CO2 emissions-2%
      Over the last 40 years emissions per passenger kilometre have
      decreased by 70%

      Airline fuel efficiency improved 20% in the last decade
      80% of aviation emissions are related to flights over 1,500 km for
      which there is no alternative mode of transport

      The IATA arguments are however contested by the European Federation
      for Transport and Environment, an environmental NGO. In a point-by-
      point rebuttal, T&E argues that:

      The 2% figure refers to CO2 emissions, not other climate impacts such
      as aviation-induced cirrus clouds

      The 2% figure is from 1992 which fails to include the explosion in
      growth of global aviation in the last fifteen years

      The true global contribution to climate change of aviation is between
      4 and 9%, depending on the impact of aviation-induced cirrus clouds
      Aircraft fuel efficiency has not improved at all. Typical passenger
      aircraft of the 1950s were as fuel efficient as typical modern jets

      Additional links at:
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