Aviation and the Global Atmosphere

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10.1. Introduction

Although the introduction of aircraft emissions reduction technology (see Chapter 7), ATM improvements, and other aircraft operational measures (see Chapter 8) highlight the technological potential to reduce future aircraft emissions, the question has been raised about whether these technologies will be adopted by industry and implemented by governments at sufficient levels and soon enough to appropriately address projected scenarios of growth in aviation traffic and emissions (Chapter 9).

This chapter reviews policy measures that are viewed as ways of accelerating emission mitigation trends, if needed (IPCC, 1996b). Such measures for policymakers include initiatives to ensure timely implementation of CNS/ATM, development of regulatory standards and recommended practices, market-based measures such as environmental levies (taxes and charges), and emissions trading. This chapter also examines analytical frameworks to evaluate alternative policy options.

When evaluating potential mitigation measures for aviation, policymakers probably would benefit from having reliable information on the relative costs of mitigating aviation's greenhouse gas or other emissions compared with the costs of mitigating emissions from other sources. At present, however, it is not known whether addressing aviation is likely to be more or less costly than achieving comparable reductions from other sources.

In terms of guidance, the 1995 IPCC assessment states, "Achieving the economic and policy potential of greenhouse gas reductions ... depends on the economic and other priorities of the providers and users of transport services. The extent to which these potentials are achieved depends on a complex interaction among technology, the economy, and choices made by consumers, producers, and policymakers. It is this interaction that most needs to be understood and addressed if policymakers wish to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector." (IPCC, 1996a).

Because most developed and developing country economies depend on aviation services, balancing the individual interests of aviation stakeholders with the broader public interest, including environmental interests, is critical. It is also important to understand the institutional and global context in which the industry operates, the drivers of aviation economic activity, and the incentives and motivations of the parties.

In addition, the literature on this subject suggests that flexible, cost-effective policies that rely on economic incentives, as well as the coordinated use of policy instruments, can considerably reduce mitigation or adaptation costs and increase the cost-effectiveness of emission reduction measures. Appropriate long-run signals are required to allow producers and consumers to adapt cost effectively to constraints on greenhouse gas emissions and to encourage investment, research, development, and demonstration (IPCC, 1996c). To attain the proper balance of interests, international standardization of regulations and economic instruments and uniformity in application are necessary. Other criteria in assessing the effectiveness of policy tools are environmental need, technical feasibility of proposed solutions, and ease of implementation.

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