Cap and trade plan for airlines

The international Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) should lay the groundwork for a global cap and trade scheme for the world's airlines at its general assembly in September, the Confederation of British Industry will say today.

European airlines are already set to join the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme in 2012, under which they are committed not to exceed 2005 CO2 levels by 2050.

Although a cap and trade scheme is the most efficient and cost-effective way to ensure the aviation industry cuts its carbon footprint, it must be a global initiative to avoid excess emissions being offloaded on to countries outside its remit, the Confederation of British Industry warns.

The ICAO tri-annual general meeting will prepare for the next United Nations climate change conference.

And member governments should take the opportunity to start the necessary work for a global scheme, the Confederation of British Industry says.

"The best way for the world's aviation industry to meet its climate obligations is through a global cap and trade scheme," John Cridland, the deputy director general of the confederation, said.

"Such a scheme would include all airlines, removing scope for leakage of emissions from one country to another, and would run with, not against, the grain of this international industry."

The confederation is also calling for the Government to rethink plans to change the existing Air Passenger Duty with a "per plane" levy.