Last updated: 11:47 AM ET, Fri October 07 2016

What Will Airline Passengers Pay for New Climate Deal?

Airlines & Airports | Patrick Clarke | October 07, 2016

What Will Airline Passengers Pay for New Climate Deal?

PHOTO: An Emirates flight from Dubai to Sydney in 2030 would cost the airline just over $12 per seat under a proposed climate accord from the United Nations. (Photo courtesy of Emirates)  

International flights currently account for approximately 2 percent of global greenhouse gases, but those emissions are projected to more than triple in the coming decades, according to Bloomberg.

In an effort to combat the pollution, a proposed United Nations accord is being debated in Montreal this week. While the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization estimates the 15-year deal would cost airlines anywhere from $2.9 billion to $12.4 billion per year by the year 2030, per Bloomberg, passengers may struggle to notice. 

That's because those figures make up just a small portion of airline budgets.

Rather than forcing airlines to cut emissions, the accord would require airlines to offset their emissions growth after 2020 by buying credits that back renewable energy projects and funding other environmental initiatives.

According to Bloomberg calculations based on data from the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), a 540-mile flight from Casablanca, Morocco to Madrid aboard a Boeing 737-800 in 2030 would cost an airline less than $1 per passenger under the proposed plan.

Bloomberg's calculations show that the aforementioned flight could cost airlines as little as $0.31 per seat.

READ MORE: Can Airlines Help Improve the American Airport Experience?

Even a 7,500-mile flight from Dubai to Sydney aboard an Airbus A380 would cost airlines less than $13 per seat, with the low estimate coming in at under $5 per passenger.

"Some airlines might pass the cost onto consumers, others won't," ATAG spokesman Haldane Dodd told Bloomberg. 

Even if airlines decide to charge passengers more, the projections suggest the added cost would be close to unnoticeable. 

While passengers may be dreading even a tiny increase in airfare, the good is likely to outweigh the bad.

"For travelers, the cost will be lost in the noise of the overall ticket price," Environmental Defense Fund international counsel Annie Petsonk told Bloomberg. "But for some countries, it could mean a significant source of low-carbon development financing."

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