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16 Jul 08. Plane makers and airlines meeting here for the world’s largest air show pledged Wednesday to improve efficiency in the global aviation industry to reduce its contribution to global warming. But executives from British Airways and Airbus also used a summit at the Farnborough International Airshow on “sustainable aviation” to attack the European Union over its revised emissions trading scheme, which they said will cripple the European airline industry coming on top of soaring oil prices. BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh said he supported a trading scheme in general but had “serious reservations” about the EU’s current proposal, which he said would encourage carriers to bypass European hubs altogether. “The EU should look again at applying a scheme that is workable in the first place and able to be applied worldwide,” Walsh said. European airlines say the EU greenhouse gas cap and trading system would impose extra costs of €4bn ($5.41bn) a year. Buying enough carbon permits to operate between 2011, when the program would begin, to 2022, will cost more than €45bn ($61bn).
Airbus CEO Tom Enders, who also broadly supports a trading scheme, criticized European politicians for pushing ahead with the “unbalanced” scheme “irrespective of the burden put on airlines by the oil price. “West Texas crude oil prices hit a record $147.27 a barrel last week and settled at $138.74 on Tuesday, underpinning a rise in oil costs for the aviation industry from $44bn in 2003 to an expected $190bn this year. The aviation industry has come under growing public and political pressure to curb carbon dioxide emissions, with calls for plane makers to invest more in new technology and for airlines to replace outdated fleets of gas-guzzling aircraft. The industry has argued that it is moving toward a cleaner future and that it is not the worst offender when it comes to the environment. Executives at the summit on Wednesday again struck a tone between conciliatory and defensive, repeatedly quoting data indicating the aviation industry accounts for just 2 percent of global man-made Co2 emissions — in contrast to other factors like deforestation which accounts for some 20 percent. The 2 percent figure is forecast to rise to just 3 percent by 2050 if no action is taken. (Source: FT.com)