Aviation industry attacks mandatory 'polluter pays' principle
27.06.08 @ 09:24
The aviation industry has reacted angrily to a fresh deal between the European Parliament and EU governments to make airlines a part of a pollution-reducing scheme from 2012, saying that policymakers have "completely disregarded the future" of the sector.
On Thursday (26 June), negotiators from the parliament and the council agreed that in three-and-a-half years, airline companies would take part in the EU's emissions trading system (ETS), seen as the cornerstone of efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020.
All aircraft taking off or landing in the 27-nation bloc, including those operated by non-European companies, will be obliged to buy 15 percent of their permits to produce carbon dioxide in ETS auctions.
In addition, carriers will have to keep emitted greenhouse gases under certain limits. In 2012, the cap will be set at 97 percent of average emissions levels during the baseline years of 2004-2006. This will be reduced to 95 percent from 2013 to 2020.
The airline industry reacted with dismay to the deal, warning that the new rules are likely to cripple the industry's competitiveness and result in higher bills for customers.
"Fifteen percent auctioning in 2012 is unaffordable and unacceptable for our airlines, given today's high fuel prices and weakening demand," said Sylviane Lust, the International Air Carrier Association (IACA) director general.
According to another group, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry is already doing enough to reduce its carbon footprint by investing in new technology and using less fuel.
It "will only invite international legal battles," the IATA director general, Giovanni Bisignani, said, according to the International Herald Tribune. The United States has already threatened to challenge the plan.
Mr Bisignani has urged EU legislators to put on ice a planned overhaul of the emission trading scheme, a cap and trade system set up in 2005. It is "crazy" to push the idea "in the middle of an energy crisis", he said.
Under the new-look emission trading scheme, EU member states would no longer be able to grant pollution permits to their companies. Instead, industry will be obliged to buy them by auction.
The preliminary deal to include airlines in the emission trading system still needs an approval by the entire European Parliament assembly, with the vote due in July.