Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Airlines Vow 50% Cuts

Airlines have vowed to halve their carbon emissions by 2050 in what seems like an obvious ploy to take the initiative before they get hit with a can of whoop ass at Copenhagen. Aviation and shipping were of course left out of the Kyoto Protocol but will be included in any new agreement at Copenhagen. I've seen varying figures on these industries' emissions contributions, from between 1.6% to around 4%, but it is widely held that this will increase significantly in the future, so any firm deal in December should strike the airlines hard.

Apart from the sheer folly of committing to cuts by way of carbon trading (in which the airlines effectively pay for other people to cut emissions so they don't have to), there's one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb - the baseline year.

It seems a bit obvious to me, so do correct me if I'm wrong, I have had a long day, but is it not common to use 1990 as a baseline year when talking about emissions targets, as was established at Kyoto? So when we say that we need an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050, this is a reduction on 1990 levels.

But now the airlines want to use 2005 as their baseline. Would this be because their emissions between those two dates rose significantly? Such as in the EU, for example, where international aviation emissions rose 96% between 1990 and 2005.

So the actual proposed cuts by aviation, when talking about the bigger picture, is...?

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