Thursday

14th Dec 2017

EU to 'stop the clock' on airline carbon tax

  • The European Commission wants to suspend the EU carbon aviation tax for one year. (Photo: Zach Stern)

The European Commission is proposing to suspend the enforcement of its controversial aviation tax for one year in a bid to allow dissenting non-EU countries to formulate an alternative global solution.

"If this exercise does not deliver – and I hope it does - then needless to say we are back to where we are today with the EU ETS [Emissions Trading Scheme]. Automatically," said EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard in Brussels on Monday (12 November).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

ETS requires all airlines flying into or out of the EU to pay into a greenhouse gas emission allowance-trading scheme - except those countries which already have a similar system at home.

The aim, says the commission, is to fight climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

But the EU's ETS drew loud protests from around the world with the industry, saying it would cost them some €17.5 billion over the next eight years. Others say the system would create a confusing patchwork of differing policies and taxes.

The United States, China, India, Russia and other countries have all threatened to boycott the EU scheme.

The commission's temporary suspension means the countries will now have to formulate another global plan under the auspices of the UN’s aviation body, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

"Our regulatory scheme was adopted after having waited many years for ICAO to progress. Now it seems that because of some countries' dislike of our scheme many countries are prepared to move in ICAO," said Hedegaard.

The suspension does not apply to flights inside the EU by EU-domiciled airlines.

Meanwhile, Hedegaard said more countries are warming up to the idea of an international framework to reduce aviation pollution.

The UN body will attempt to address some of the politically sensitive issues by setting up a high-level policy group.

"Political choices have to be made and this is where we see new opportunities," noted the commissioner.

For its part, pro-green NGO the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says Hedegaard's move buys some time for ICAO, but that its members will have to demonstrate their commitment to tackling the climate impacts of flying.

"This is a great chance for ICAO members to show leadership and push for action on a global agreement on this issue," said Jason Anderson, head of European climate and energy policy, WWF European Policy Office, in a statement.

A coalition of other pro-green NGOs said that the United States would now have to prove it is ready to tackle climate change.

"[US leader] Obama has finally the chance to prove that he means what he said on climate change in his victory speech," said Bill Hemmings of the Brussels-based pro-environment Transport & Environment group.

The commission's proposal to suspend the CO2 law still requires the approval of the European Parliament and member states.

EU will formally renew glyphosate on 12 December

The European Commission will also reply to a million-strong citizens' petition to ban glyphosate, and clarify EU rules concerning scientific studies on which the herbicide's renewal was based.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Pro-Kremlin trolls targeted Scottish referendum
  2. MEPs vote to allow phosphate additives in kebabs
  3. Babis government sworn in in Czech Republic
  4. Russia looks to crypto-currencies to evade EU sanctions
  5. Juncker embroiled in Luxembourg wire-tapping trial
  6. Kurz close to forming new Austrian right-wing government
  7. Ministers reach deal on fish quotas but overfishing continues
  8. UK parliament to vote on right to veto final Brexit deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  2. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  3. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  4. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  7. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  8. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  9. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  10. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  11. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  12. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe

Latest News

  1. Tusk migration note prompts institutional 'hysteria'
  2. Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short
  3. Brits in EU-27 are uncertain, alone and far from protected
  4. 2018 fishing quotas agreed - but Brexit muddies waters
  5. Medical HQ to spearhead EU military push
  6. Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland
  7. EU renews glyphosate approval, pledges transparency
  8. Romania searching for EU respectability