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Harsh Controls For Ships, Planes

Published on Apr 4, 2008

Latest proposal will hit poorer countries hard

Airline and shipping operators, especially those in developing countries, will be hit hard if a European Union proposal on greenhouse gas emissions is adopted, officials warned yesterday.

The EU submitted a proposal yesterday to the ongoing Bangkok round of climate-change negotiations to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Delegates from 163 countries have participated in the United Nations-sanctioned conference here with the objective of managing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

As a result, EU delegates asked for the control of greenhouse gases from the use of maritime and aviation fuels.

According to EU delegates, airlines and shipping lines are important sources of these emissions, which have been growing at a fast rate and neither is covered by the Kyoto Protocol.

“Even though it is just the first draft of a proposal, there is a strong chance it will be approved by member countries,” said Sirithan Pairojborriboon, director of the Greenhouse Gas Management Public Organisation.

“If that’s the case, airline operators [such as Thai Airways International and other Asian carriers] will be affected significantly, as they will be forced to control their emissions or else they will be charged for such emissions.”

Sirithan warned that the burden would be heavy for airline operators in developing countries, as currently they have no obligations on emission controls under the global climate pact.

“These operators could be forced to pay even though the total emissions of their respective countries is not within the level of Annex I countries,” he said, adding that the tourism and logistics industries might also be affected.

Annex I countries have to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by about 5 per cent from the 1990 level. Under the Kyoto Protocol, this target is supposed to be met by 2012.

Currently, Thailand and other developing countries are not on the Annex I list and emission cuts are still voluntary.

According to Sirithan, the EU has suggested two options for its proposal: allowing an emission trading system among airlines or initiating a carbon dioxide charge on airlines.

The EU proposal yesterday faced strong opposition from many delegates from developing countries, he said.

“They fear that a rise in costs from greenhouse gases will affect air fares or route management and in the end reduce the airline industry’s competitiveness,” Sirithan said, adding that the EU plan is expected to be debated more widely in the next round of climate talks in Bonn, Germany, in June.

The EU proposal was submitted to one of the two meetings at the Bangkok Climate Talks – called the Meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol – which will end today.

Kamol Sukin

The Nation

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