Carbon emissions trading for airlines

[28th May 2008]

Airport scene

MEPs have voted to include airlines in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme from 2011 and for a lower ceiling on emissions.

The European Commission had recommended that airlines should not be included in the carbon emissions trading scheme until 2012, but MEPs in the European Parliament Environment Committee disagree. If their vote is upheld it will affect all flights within, leaving or landing in EU territory.

The ministers have also said that flights carrying monarchy, presidents and government ministers on official visits should be included because they should play their part in paying the cost of climate change. If adopted the scheme could add around £8 to the cost of flights in Europe and up to £32 on long haul flights.

MEPs also want to toughen up on carbon emissions by introducing a lower ceiling on airline emissions. The European Council and Commission wants to cap emissions at 2004-2006 levels, but MEPs want to lower the cap to 90% of these levels – a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions.

The two sides disagree too on what to do with revenue from the Emissions Trading Scheme. The Council regards earmarking revenue for specific uses as an “infringement of the subsidiarity principle”. But MEPs want funds channelled to specific purposes, including research to improve efficiency in the aviation sector, climate-friendly transport such as trains and buses, and assistance to developing countries to help them adapt to climate change and reduce emissions.

Another change proposed by MEPs is for the number of carbon permits airlines have to buy at auction to be increased from 10% to 25%.

Written by: Nick Purdom


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