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Cathay Pacific chief hits out at anti-aviation critics

by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Sept 19, 2007
The chief executive of Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific said Wednesday the aviation industry had been unfairly demonised for its role in climate change, and that a more rational debate was required.

Tony Tyler said perspective needed was about the size of the airline industry's emission of greenhouse gases, which are blamed for global climate change.

"I get really fed up with things that are written or said in some parts of the world media (about aviation's responsibility for climate change)," he told a meeting of the Asia Pacific Aviation Media Association.

"Aviation in Europe has become public enemy number one. To be fair, the industry was a bit slow to see that dynamite-laden freight train headed in our direction."

The European Union is considering plans to limit carbon emissions from airlines from 2011 to step up the fight against global warming and recently Britain doubled its air passenger duty.

Tyler said the aviation industry was responsible for just two percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, one of the main greenhouse gases, compared to the much bigger emitters such as power generation, but took a larger share of the blame.

He insisted he did not underestimate the significance of the climate change issue, and that aviation was only part of the problem.

"We need a more rational and sensible debate," he said.

"I think it is very important to set a context. We contribute two percent of global CO2 emissions. It is also growing, that is not acceptable.

"Singling out aviation distracts from the task of putting together effective a set of initiatives that are pretty urgently required."

He added that aviation's role as a key driver of economic growth should be better recognised.

Tyler conceded that Cathay's carbon footprint had increased in recent years to reflect its growth, but that it had improved energy efficiency and introduced measures to offset its carbon emissions.

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Squabble over airline carbon emissions takes flight
Montreal (AFP) Sept 18, 2007
Draft measures to clip airlines' skyrocketing greenhouse gas emissions are creating a rift at the 36th International Civil Aviation Organization talks, which kicked off here Tuesday.

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