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Commission defends €3bn annual subsidies for low-cost airlines

The European Commission today published new draft guidelines [1] that will allow regional airports and EU carriers serving them to keep receiving subsidies worth €3bn a year. In a good number of cases [2] these rules prop up unprofitable regional airports and low-cost carriers, allowing them to continue to operate in an unsustainable way which distorts competition between budget and national carriers.  The proposed guidelines also permit the bail out of financially unviable operations for a decade and allow infrastructure aid for building new airports to continue in aeternum.

Europe can and should use its trade muscle for the green cause

Suddenly Karel de Gucht is the most talked-about figure in Brussels. The Belgian trade commissioner is very busy. He is trying to finish a free trade deal with Canada; his boss and Obama are pressing for a deal with the US to be next.  And then there is China – where the direction is towards less, not more, free trade. The EU has just imposed an anti-dumping 12% tariff on Chinese solar panels, with a threat to go to 47%. In its response, China is trying to play the usual divide-and-rule tactic by threatening tariffs on wine (annoying for the French), and luxury cars (annoying for the Germans).

Airlines' call for global emissions deal not convincing

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade body comprising 240 airlines worldwide, today finally acknowledged the need for a global market–based measure to reduce aviation's contribution to climate change. IATA called on their airline members to encourage their governments to agree at this year’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly on a global carbon offsetting measure to take effect in 2020.

NGOs open letter to IATA demanding a global aviation emissions deal

Sketch of a book (default image for publications

A coalition of 11 environmental, development and science groups wrote to Tony Tyler, the head of international aviation trade body, IATA, calling for a global sectoral approach that covers the environmental cost of airlines' emissions. The letter was sent days before 240 airlines gathered in Cape Town, South Africa at IATA's Annual General Meeting to discuss the industry issues including the sector's contribution to climate change. The full letter is reproduced in the downloadable link below.

Classifying tar sands as ultra-high carbon fuel would bring massive CO2 savings

New research has suggested that the Commission is not only right to classify oil from tar sands as much more carbon-intensive than conventional fuels, but that doing so could save emissions of up to 19 million tonnes of CO2 every year – equivalent to taking 7 million cars off the roads. The study, commissioned by T&E, undermines claims by the oil industry that the proposal to implement the EU Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) will only lead to global ‘reshuffling’ of different crudes but not reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. 

Is China dictating Europe’s climate policy?

The EU’s decision to ‘stop the clock’ on including emissions from intercontinental flights in its Emissions Trading Scheme appears to have been influenced by Chinese threats to cancel orders for new planes from Airbus. A letter from the president of the French aircraft maker to China’s leading aviation official – seen by Reuters – says Airbus played an influential role in persuading the EU to give the world’s governments another year to reach agreement on how to tackle carbon emissions from air transport. T&E says European governments have effectively given China ‘a veto over European policy’.

America must lead global fight against aviation carbon pollution

International aviation is on course for a rough landing in our warming world. Air travel is growing rapidly -- and so are aviation emissions, which are already responsible for 5 percent of the warming effect of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The clock has stopped: where is ICAO now?

Following the European Parliament’s vote approving the Commission’s proposal to “Stop the Clock”, Conservative MEP Peter Liese, aviation EU ETS and “Stop the Clock” Rapporteur, hosted a public briefing for MEPs in Brussels on Wednesday 24th April to review progress of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) High Level Group on Climate Change (HGCC) formation, of which had prompted Europe’s stop the clock decision. The conference was attended by Jos Delbeke, Director–General DG Clima, Prof David Lee of Manchester University, IATA’s Paul Steele and Green MEP Satu Hassi. The derogation became European law on 25 April. Here’s our report of what was said there.

European Parliament increases pressure on ICAO to agree a global aviation emissions deal

The European Parliament today voted to confirm the Commission’s proposal to suspend for one year the inclusion of flights to and from Europe in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). The Parliament’s decision stressed that the EU’s emissions clock will start again if the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) does not manage to agree on a global deal to curb international aviation emissions at its triennial Assembly next September.

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