Saturday

26th Sep 2020

EU aviation emissions plan softened

The European Commission is on Wednesday set to propose that all airlines using European airports be required to take part in its carbon-reducing scheme – although international flights will be allowed some extra time to take part.

According to a draft proposal seen by EUobserver, the scheme will cover "all flights arriving at or departing from an airport in the Community as of 1 January 2012."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • State aircraft, circular flights and training flights are set to be excluded from the scheme (Photo: Wikipedia)

However, according to the Financial Times, after further discussions on Monday, foreign airlines may get two year's grace meaning they will not have to be a part of the scheme until 2013.

Intra-European flights by contrast will be covered by the scheme from the beginning of 2011.

The extra years given for international flights is being seen as a conciliatory measure towards the US which had raised the prospect of legal action.

The draft plan also suggests that Brussels will come with a new proposal covering nitrogen oxide emissions by the end of 2008.

The current proposal will cover carbon dioxide emissions only and is an extension of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme already in place since the beginning of last year.

Under this scheme industry is given a certain amount of pollution credits. If they exceed their limit, they have to buy credits from other companies - resulting in a carbon market.

The commission has been threatening to include airlines - the fastest-growing carbons emissions source - in the scheme for several months.

The draft proposal says that airlines will be able to buy pollution allowances "from other sectors in the [EU] community scheme for use to cover their emissions." The scheme is also to cover Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein - the three members of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Criticism on Brussels

But the commission's ideas are already coming under fire. Leading environment group WWF and the UK's Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) have suggested that the costs of the scheme will be felt only by consumers and will not greatly affect airlines.

The IPPR said on Monday that including airlines in the scheme is a "step in the right direction," but it added that "the EU should not repeat the mistake it made with the energy sector and give up the aviation industry free emissions credits, handing the airlines a windfall of up to £2.7bn."

The commission's proposal however suggests that "a fixed percentage of the total quantity of allowances will be allocated free of charge on the basis of a benchmark."

Meanwhile, according to the BBC, the WWF has suggested the airline industry could make up to £3.5 billion on the scheme.

For its part, the airline industry favours the scheme over direct taxes.

"An [emissions trading scheme], if it is designed appropriately, is a precision tool," said Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, Secretary General of the Association of European Airlines.

The commission's announcement on Wednesday is part of an overall tightening up of its pollution-cutting proposals for the bloc after it became clear that member states were being too lenient towards industry and granting too many pollution allowances.

Under the Kyoto climate change treaty, the EU has committed itself to reducing carbon emissions to 8 percent of 1990s level by 2012, a commitment that is currently off track.

Private jets dodge EU greenhouse gas rules

European executives are increasingly favouring private jets when travelling across the continent as the rise in airport security checks multiplies delays, but the flights may strike a symbolic blow against the EU's fight against greenhouse gasses.

Analysis

China's carbon pledge at UN sends 'clear message' to US

China's pledge to become carbon neutral before 2060 is "good news" for Europe, but it sends a clear message to Washington ahead of the US election - in which climate change has become a significant aspect for voters.

Opinion

Why no EU progress on Black Lives Matter?

Months after Black Lives Matter erupted, for many EU decision-makers the problems of racism in policing and criminal legal systems - the issues that sparked the George Floyd protests - are still 'over there', across the Atlantic.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. Berlin repeats support for EU human rights sanctions
  2. China's carbon pledge at UN sends 'clear message' to US
  3. Far right using pandemic to win friends in Germany
  4. Visegrad countries immediately push back on new migration pact
  5. Why no EU progress on Black Lives Matter?
  6. EU migration pact to deter asylum
  7. 'Era of EU naivety ends', MEP pledges on foreign meddling
  8. Anti-mask protesters pose challenge for EU authorities

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us