EU compromises on carbon-trading scheme

The European Commission has agreed to a compromise proposal over its plans to include the aviation industry in its carbon-trading scheme, the Financial Times reported.

Citing an unidentified Commission official, the business daily said that the United States and Asian countries had reacted angrily to earlier proposals which would have seen airlines landing and taking off in the EU participate in the scheme.

Washington apparently threatened legal action against the EU over the plans.

The Commission had originally planned to include all inbound and outbound air traffic in its emissions-trading scheme by 2011.

According to the FT, however, the new proposals confine the scheme only to travel within the EU by 2011, and then extending it to all air traffic by 2013. The proposal will be approved by the Commission on Wednesday, and must also be signed off by the EU member states and the European Parliament.

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About a tenth of carbon permits will be auctioned to airlines, which will help to set a market price. Airlines will receive the rest of their permits for free, the FT said.

Commission officials apparently hope that by then, a global aviation carbon trading system will have been set up.

“We will be able to learn how to integrate airlines in the system and promote the benefits from a political and practical point of view,” an unidentified Commission official told the FT.


On Wednesday the EU is expected to publish a legislative proposal on including aviation in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme.


Andy Harrison, easyJet Chief Executive, gives the following comments:

“I never thought I would see the day when easyJet calls for tougher legislation to be brought in sooner! But that’s exactly what we’re doing with this piece of legislation.

 

“Aviation CO2 emissions currently account for only 1.6%* of Global Greenhouse gases and we welcome the fact that aviation will soon have a market mechanism to pay for its environmental impact.

 

“An emissions trading scheme is the right way for aviation to balance its huge economic and social benefits with its environmental impact - rather than national Governments imposing ineffective, inefficient taxes, such as UK Air Passenger Duty, to give the impression they are doing something.

 

“But the scheme should be all or nothing from day one - there is no middle ground. Adopting a scheme for intra-EU flights will take in only 20%** of Europe’s aviation emissions and many airlines will be let off the hook entirely. The Commission’s decision to omit 80% of Europe’s aviation emissions from the initial scheme smacks of political compromise rather than a desire to protect the environment.

 

“We call upon Members of the European Parliament and national governments to reject anything less than an unconditional full scheme covering all flights in and out of the EU and to bring in legislation that is tougher - and to bring it in sooner.”
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