Dr Terry Barker, of the University of Cambridge and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, said the 100% auctioning scheme would aim to reduce the two sectors’ emissions to net zero by 2052.

The Global Emissions Trading Scheme (GETS) is intended to cover international flights, but national governments would be encouraged to develop their own schemes to curb emissions from internal flights.

Revenues from auctioning would be used to fund climate change mitigation policies.

Aviation is responsible for 2% of global emissions, while figures from the UN’s International Maritime Organisation earlier this year estimate that shipping is now responsible for 4.5%.

The two sectors are also growing rapidly, with experts predicting a 75% rise in shipping emissions and an even higher rise for those from planes by 2020.

Dr Barker said that for the GETS to work, it would require full participation from all countries, and he envisaged it replacing other multi-national schemes currently in the pipeline, such as that proposed by the EU.

He told edie: “I don’t think we can have countries opting out. It has to be a global agreement.

“Let’s say Russia said it wasn’t going to join in – what would happen with all the flights between Russia and Europe?”

The proposals would apply to transport operators, rather than countries, and aim to gradually reduce emissions to net zero between 2013 and 2052 over eight-year periods of emissions capping.

Credits would be auctioned, and operators could buy additional credits, if needed, from limited offsetting through the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism.

The revenues from the auctions, which are calculated to be in billions of dollars, would be used to support Mexico’s Multilateral Climate Change Fund, or new CDM programmes.

Dr Barker said: “There’s certainly been quite a lot of interest in the Mexican Climate Change Fund.

“Money to pay for mitigation has got to come from somewhere, and a global scheme is very useful for that.”

More information about the proposed scheme can be found here.

Kate Martin

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