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"IATA defends airline sector from pollution criticisms"
Monday, May 7, 2007
IATA defends airline sector from pollution criticisms 2 hours, 12 minutes
Agence France Presse
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Monday defended the
aviation sector from criticisms it is among the worst offenders in emitting
man-made carbon dioxide.
Andrew Drysdale, IATA's regional vice president, said the sector was being
unfairly labelled as a big pollution offender despite only accounting for
two percent of heat-trapping carbon emissions globally.
"If you look at the adverse press coverage that we are getting, you would
think that we are the largest polluter in the world," Drysdale said in a
speech at a regional airport conference in Singapore.
"We are not," he said, producing slides that showed electricity use and heat
production accounted for 35 percent of the global carbon dioxide emissions.
Drysdale, however, said the sector cannot afford to be complacent and must
take measures to cut down on carbon emissions since the industry is expected
to grow, especially in the Asia Pacific region.
"It's two percent but it's two percent and two percent is still two percent
and we've got to do something about it," said Drysdale.
"What is more, our industry is growing and as it grows, inevitably we have
to burn and we will add more to our emissions so we have to do something
According to Drysdale, the new generation of aircraft being produced are
more fuel efficient, which means the sector is cutting the amount of carbon
dioxide emitted per passenger per kilometre.
Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner, to be unveiled on July 8, will use 20 percent
less fuel than any other plane of its size through engine improvements and
the use of lighter composite metals for structure, according to the US
Peter de Jong, president of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, also
defended the airline sector.
"Aircraft generate emissions of course but they are not the carbon-spewing
monsters that many have mistakenly come to believe," de Jong told the same
"We all know that if air travel was banned, there would only be a two
percent reduction in emissions but the impact on global economies would be
He urged the airline sector and airport players to band together to address
the environmental issue and work out solutions that will not affect the
"We tend to forget that for nearly five decades, air transport has provided
significant social and economic benefits to the society," said de Jong.
"Our industry should better communicate its positive impact on poverty
alleviation and the benefits brought by air transport in terms of jobs,
education and wealth creation."
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in a report Friday
that the tools available to battle climate change are at minimal cost to the
Heading off the worst effects of climate change would shave less than 0.12
percent off the world's economic growth in the years 2030 and 2050, the
That would cover the cost of efforts to limit global warming to 2.0-2.4
degrees Celsius (3.6-4.3 degrees Fahrenheit), generally recognised by
experts as the threshold at which some of the most extreme impacts of
climate change will begin.
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