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Airlines urge UN deal on emissions

Staff writer |
Airlines urged a UN aviation group to back a mandatory global framework to curb airline emissions, saying failure to reach a deal would revive threats of a trade war.

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The International Air Transport Association, which represents approximately 200 airlines, said the United Nations' aviation agency could agree on a new system when its 191 states begin their assembly in Montreal this week.

The UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which sets standards for air travel, is under pressure to make headway toward resolving one of the worst aviation disputes in years, pitting the European Union against its trade rivals. The ICAO meets in full once every three years.

Greenhouse gas emissions from commercial flights are growing at a steep rate. The EU in 2011 came up with regulations to charge airlines for carbon emissions on flights to and from Europe over EU airspace. But it has suspended the scheme to allow opponents led by China and the United States to agree on a global plan to curb aviation emissions under UN auspices. The EU has threatened to reimpose the scheme if there is no deal.

Earlier this month, preliminary negotiations led to a breakthrough ahead of the full ICAO assembly, but diplomats say some countries such as India are still unhappy about the plan which would allow the EU to charge only for its own airspace. China has suspended billions of dollars of orders of Airbus jets to protest the original European scheme.

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