A group of United Airlines' most frequent flyers, including billionaire investor Tom Steyer, called on the airline to stop blocking climate change actions.United Airlines has opposed "multiple efforts to curb climate change pollution, at home and abroad," the group, Flying Clean, said in a letter to chief executive Jeff Smisek.Flying Clean, launched by several non-governmental organizations seeking to reduce carbon emissions from aircraft, sent its letter ahead of United's annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday in Arlington, Virginia. It had 85,000 electronic signatures including 2,700 elite frequent flyers."If United wants to stay competitive, it needs to take climate change seriously and act in its customers' - and the planet's - best interest," said Steyer, a former hedge fund manager turned environmental campaigner.The letter criticised United for leading a lawsuit to fight a European law that would make airlines pay for carbon dioxide they emit on flights to and from EU airports; lobbying in the United States against emissions initiatives; and trying to reverse California's low-carbon fuel standard.United Airlines spokeswoman Megan McCarthy disputed the claims, and said the airline is on a task force of the International Air Transport Association seeking a global solution to airline emissions."The entire industry got together to say that we supported a global approach rather than a regional approach," she said.Flying Clean also asked United to support a global market-based approach to cutting emissions in the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation. That effort would cut emissions by more than current voluntary goals.Last week, the industry lobbying group said it would ask governments to create a system through which airlines would offset any increase in emissions after 2020 by buying carbon credits from projects that reduce emissions in other sectors.Some analysts doubted whether the airline industry would actually pressure governments to agree a deal in time for the ICAO's general assembly in Montreal beginning September 24.Frank Loy, a former airline executive who led US climate negotiations in the UN under President Clinton, said airlines should put their energy into pressuring governments into securing a deal rather than trying to block one."A major airline like United being a leader would make a big difference," he said. Source: Reuters
Gravity always wins!