Indian bid to cut aviation emissions set for takeoff

Indian airlines and airports have been asked to record their annual carbon emissions in what would be a first step towards creating a national inventory that could be used to reduce the aviation sector’s CO2 output.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a note earlier this month requiring the monitoring of both emissions directly from aircraft and those arising from the operation and use of airports, including ground support equipment, power generation and ground transport.

The order covers all scheduled domestic airlines, airports with more than 10,000 flights in and out, and some non-scheduled operators, and appears designed to build up an overall carbon footprint for the aviation industry in India.

The move may come as a surprise, given India has been vocal in its opposition to new EU rules that require airlines to purchase carbon permits to cover their flights in and out of its airports.

However, a senior airport official told the Times of India that monitoring emissions was the first step towards reducing the impact of the sector, which contributes around three per cent of the global emissions total, but whose contribution is predicted to rise substantially unless action is taken.

“Though this is a very basic exercise, it will help us know where we are burning more fuel. It will help us analyse patterns of fuel and power consumption,” he told the paper.

“Later, we can devise methods to reduce emissions where it is required and is possible. The inventory will act as a reference point to cut down the release.”

Despite international opposition to the EU’s move to include airlines in its emissions trading scheme, the bloc has shown no signs of backing down and yesterday opened a new Union Registry to enable carriers to open carbon trading accounts.

The partial activation of the Union Registry for airlines is a first step before it becomes fully operational, which will allow carriers to transfer allowances and international credits with other participants in the EU ETS. However, the EU does not expect this to happen before June.

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