EU aviation emissions plan too weak, says report

04.09.07 @ 09:26

  1. By Helena Spongenberg

BRUSSELS - Current EU proposals to include carbon dioxide emissions from aviation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme – Brussels' main tool to fight global warming – will have little impact on lowering aviation's contribution to climate change, according to a new scientific report.

  • Aviation is one of the most fastest growing source of carbon emissions (Photo: EUobserver.com)

Friends of the Earth - the green group that commissioned the report - is urging the EU to substantially strengthen its trading scheme (ETS) proposals.

It is also calling for additional measures from Brussels to curb the growth in flights.

"The current aviation ETS proposal must be significantly strengthened so as to both drive down emission growth rates and force the adoption of more efficient aircraft technologies and operation," said one of the authors, Kevin Anderson.

"We delude ourselves if we believe the proposed framing of the EU ETS is in keeping with the EU's own and repeated commitment to limit climate change to a two degrees Celsius rise," he added.

The green campaigners together with the authors of the report will today (4 September) meet MEPs in Strasbourg to discuss their findings in the "Aviation in a Low-Carbon EU" report.

Its main finding was that in order for aviation to play its part in keeping EU carbon dioxide below dangerous levels, EU member states and MEPs must considerably strengthen the European Commission's proposal to include airlines in the ETS.

The EU executive put forward a proposal in December 2006 saying aviation is to be included from 2011 for intra-EU flights, while all flights departing from or arriving to EU airports are to be included from 2012.

The ETS is the cornerstone of the EU's climate change policy where Europe's high polluting industries trade for permits to pollute as an incentive for them to find ways in cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.

The commission proposal was already watered down before it was put forward due to heavy pressure from the aviation industry, and MEPs as well as EU member states - who are due to discuss and vote on amendments to the proposal over the coming weeks – are receiving intense lobbying on the issue.

In most countries around the world, aviation is the fastest growing source of carbon emissions. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that by 2050 aviation will account for 4 percent of all CO2 released by human activity.

Meanwhile, another new report from the Swedish government's climate advisory group - Vetenskapliga rådet – presented on Monday (3 September), argues that the EU must cut its CO2 emissions by 30-40 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2020. By 2050, world CO2 emissions ought to be at least halved it says.

The 27 EU member states earlier this year committed themselves to cutting the bloc's CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and by 30 percent if an international climate deal is reached.

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