Airlines are trying to wriggle out of their obligations on carbon reductions by offering emission cuts likely to rely on offsetting, say campaigners.
Speaking on behalf of the aviation industry, British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh said the aviation industry had agreed to cut net carbon dioxide emissions to half their 2005 levels by 2050.
However, rather than any 'closed' aviation trading scheme that could be regulated to force down the sector's carbon emissions, the airlines want access to global carbon markets.
In a paper outlining the aviation industry's plans, presented by Walsh at a UN Forum on climate change today, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it wanted: 'unrestricted access to carbon market instruments to meet its obligations'.
Greenpeace said only real cuts and not offsetting would reduce carbon emissions from aviation.
'Last week the company launched a campaign telling us that video conferencing was no replacement for business flights, and now we hear that Willie Walsh thinks that he can simply offset the damage his planes do to the climate,' said Greenpeace aviation campaigner Vicky Wyatt.
'The focus must be on reducing demand for flights, which means scrapping plans for a third runway at Heathrow and investing in alternatives such as high speed rail instead.'
Industry Paper: A global sectoral approach for aviation