Aviation should embrace Europe's controversial emissions trading scheme (ETS) as a "good deal" which is likely to be the model for any global framework for carbon trading.
Speaking at the Royal Aeronautical Society's Aviation and the Environment conference in London today (18 October), Tim Johnson, director of non-governmental organisation the Aviation Environment Federation, said that Europe's ETS is also the best, fairest deal that could have been expected in the time available to Brussels to devise it.
He said ICAO's insistence on a global plan has had some positive effect on national aviation administrations which otherwise would not have given much thought to carbon reduction. However, there is little prospect of ICAO proposing a workable global alternative to the European scheme at its 2013 assembly, he said.
He criticised the organisation for "not having the tools" to devise a global scheme. ICAO's insistence, for example, on exempting carriers based in countries accounting for less than 1% of world revenue passenger kilometres leaves just 22 nations and 82% of emissions falling under any ICAO scheme. This has prompted leading nations to object on grounds that they are competitively disadvantaged.
"The challenge," said Johnson, "is to come up with something better [than the ETS], not destroy what we already have."