Outgoing IATA DG and CEO Giovanni Bisignani has dubbed the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme as "illegal" and has asked the EU to desist from including the aviation sector in the scheme. With international airlines flying into and out of EU airspace liable for inclusion into the scheme starting next year, Bisignani has warned that a trade war was likely as nations retaliate.
Bisignani's comments were made at IATA's 67th AGM in Singapore on Monday. His comments came even as EU Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, has rejected all appeals to exclude the aviation sector from inclusion in the ETS from 2012.
Bisignani warned that a growing number of nations were strongly opposed to EU's attempts to bring them within the ambit of its "illegal scheme."
"We have to avoid retaliation because the risk of retaliation for a Europe that is in survival mode would be the kiss of the death," Bisignani said. "Uncoordinated and punitive regional measures distort markets and undermine global efforts to reduce emissions. The EU ETS is a $1.5 billion cash grab that will do nothing to reduce emissions."
"Don't kill the goose that lays golden eggs. Aviation facilitates the global trade that is stimulating economies and restoring government budgets … It is time to be serious about climate change and honest in developing global solutions," he said.
In this regard he pointed out that the Dutch government had repealed a $412 million departure tax because it cost the Netherlands' economy $1.6 billon. "Similarly, the Irish government is planning to cancel its $165 million travel tax because it has cost the economy $494 million and 3,000 jobs," he added.