UK aviation industry's carbon role
BRITISH business is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At the heart of the CBI's support for the 2050 target to reduce UK emissions by 80% is the need to promote cost-effective approaches that balance the need to reduce emissions while enabling economic prosperity.
The UK aviation industry has an important role to play in achieving these goals.
The UK aviation industry has already agreed that emissions should not exceed 2005 levels by 2050, despite growth in the aviation sector, and from 2012 the industry will be subject to a European cap on emissions under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
Launching a new report this week, the CBI identifies that a global cap and trade scheme is the best way for the world’s aviation industry to meet its climate obligations. The CBI report, Green Skies Ahead, Creating a Low-carbon Aviation Industry, argues that a cap and trade scheme would control future levels of CO2 in a cost-effective way and, by being global, would not allow damaging leakages to other countries of either carbon emissions or economic activity.
Under such a scheme, an overall cap on aviation emissions would be agreed. Airlines would be allocated permits to cover their emissions, and if they exceed their permitted level of emissions they would have to purchase surplus permits from companies that have made extra progress in reducing their emissions.
Aviation is an economic enabler like no other industry. Britain can only be truly open for business when it has access to foreign markets to exploit investment opportunities and trade goods and services.
The disruption caused by volcanic ash demonstrated just how much aviation underpins our modern economic life.
The coalition government should be wary of introducing a domestic per plane duty to replace air passenger duty. If the per plane duty were to be structured on a similar basis to aviation duty, the CBI would oppose the move as it would deliver no environmental benefit.
In addition to this, it would undermine long-haul passenger and freight services from the UK.
:: Sarah Green is regional director of CBI North East