There is little doubt that Europe has forced the global debate on emissions trading in aviation, but over the past year several other proposals have emerged that could cast doubt on the long-term viability of Europe’s fledgling project. Tim Johnson, director of the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), told lawyers gathered for the third annual Euromoney Air Law conference on May 29 that alternative schemes could yet come to the fore.
“We are now awash with proposals, such as a global scheme from the Association of European Airlines with a less onerous cap for developing countries,” he explained. “Then there is a proposal from Global Deal group of airlines, which is working through the UN with a very detailed plan; and there are also proposals from Australia for their domestic routes; and in the U.S. a bill has been drafted for a trading scheme applying to fuel suppliers, who would pass on the costs to the airlines.” Even the Maldives has proposed a scheme, said Johnson, “bringing together 50 less developed countries, saying that they want a levy.”
Finally there is a hybrid of all these plans, proposed by Australia and Canada to ICAO, with a levy and sectoral target with funds used for purchasing credits for aviation. Johnson said that ICAO has one high-level meeting left before [the] Copenhagen [summit in December]. “Who knows what they’ll propose, and what will happen to the [European] ETS.”