2008: The year of green?

The start of a new year is often a time for optimism, a fresh start and a list of well-intentioned resolutions (such as my annual resolve to do regular exercise, which normally starts well but peters out by about week three when the thought of going jogging again in sub-zero temperatures becomes too much to bear).

But in the world of aviation and the environment, there are a couple of reasons to be optimistic that 2008 could be the year in which the airline industry really starts to make progress on lessening its impact on climate change.

Towards the end of 2007, European Union ministers gave their backing to the plan to include aviation in Europe’s emissions trading scheme. This may be controversial but you’ve got to admire the EU for sticking its neck out and actually doing something, rather than just talking and talking without achieving results. Let’s hope it also finally gets its act together on the implementation of the long-awaited Single European Sky.

Most of the opposition and threats of possible legal action to EU ETS have come from the USA, but this could change with the looming US presidential elections set for later this year. With George “the jury is still out on global warming” Bush’s eight-year presidency coming to an end, perhaps there will be a fresh new US approach to the threat of climate change? For more on emissions trading and what it means for the industry read here. And 2008 will likely see more and more airlines incorporating the environment into their core strategies, an area I covered in a feature in the January issue of Airline Business.

Maybe 2008 will be the year in which the airline industry and governments worldwide work together to make this great industry as environmentally responsible as possible, which means embracing emissions trading rather than looking for excuses to dodge it. Or maybe I’m just caught up in too much New Year’s optimism – only time will tell!

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