IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler said the EU has "stirred up a hornet's nest" by insisting it will move forward with the inclusion of aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) next year, and again urged European nations to negotiate a global agreement on aviation carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through ICAO.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday at Airports Council International's (ACI) World Annual General Meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, Tyler acknowledged there has been no "public" movement by the EU on its ETS position. Indeed, a European Commission (EC) spokesperson told Bloomberg News Wednesday that the EU "won't modify our plans" regarding the ETS.

Governments around the world have denounced aviation's inclusion in the ETS, and the US House of Representatives last week voted to prevent US carriers from participating in the scheme (ATW Daily News, Oct. 26). The House's vote is nonbinding; in order for the chamber's proposal to become law, the Senate would also have to pass anti-ETS legislation and President Barack Obama would need to sign it.

Tyler noted that ACI this week called on the EU to drop aviation's inclusion in the ETS and move the emissions trading forum to ICAO. "What we'd like ICAO to do is provide the necessary framework for a global solution for managing aviation emissions," he said at a press conference. "They've agreed this framework should be set before their next assembly in 2013. We would encourage the European states to [join these negotiations] … As a result of the EU action on this matter, we see states fighting and arguing with each other rather than cooperating with each other to develop a framework."

In a speech to the ACI conference Wednesday, Tyler said the aviation industry has "taken the high ground with the most ambitious targets and strategy to reduce emissions of any global industrial sector." He commented that "improving fuel efficiency [and therefore reducing CO2 emissions] is in the DNA of the [airline] industry."