A global emissions scheme for a global industry is required. BAR UK supports the call for an ICAO-led emissions scheme to replace the EU ETS and the UK’s Air Passenger Duty.

The airline and aviation industry has been accused of all sorts of matters in respect of the environment, and especially climate change.

Aviation creates emissions and the industry recognises that it must not only pay its way to offset its environmental costs, but also develop new technologies and practices to actually reduce its impacts. It has done so on a continuing basis for many years, and will continue to do so.

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) includes aviation from January 2012 but is currently subject to a 'stop the clock' delay on implementation.

This is not a perfect scheme by any means and many overseas nations, as well as IATA and BAR UK members, have expressed serious concerns about the way that the EU ETS is being mandated.

The prime objection is that the EU is seen as charging airlines for flying in the airspace of non-EU states, i.e. extra-territoriality. Furthermore, and despite the wish of the EU, the UK government will not be using the income it will generate from the EU ETS for any specific environmental programme or activities.

Instead, what airlines really seek is a global scheme for a global matter. This requires the International Civil Aviation Organisation (a governmental body) to have its own emissions scheme worldwide to replace both the EU ETS and APD.

Over and above emissions schemes, environmental gains are possible through new technology, new fuels, new procedures and last but not least, better organised air traffic control centres. This relies on the political will of many countries, not least those within the EU, to enable really great gains to be made.

However, and yet again, there is no evidence that the political momentum actually exists to achieve those gains.

See also: The Air Transport Action Group (www.enviro.aero) and the International Air Transport Association ( www.iata.org )