Open Skies deal a 'serious setback' to EU climate policy

Increased aviation growth as a result of the 'Open Skies' agreement between the EU and America could completely offset emissions reductions from integrating the sector into the EU emissions trading system (EU-ETS) according to T&E.

The deal agreed today by EU transport ministers also preserves a decades-old prohibition of fuel taxation on transatlantic flights, the most important measure for reducing emissions from the sector.

Taxation of fuel used by American carriers within Europe is no longer illegal but will be subject to an arbitration procedure with an uncertain outcome.

Jos Dings, director of T&E said: "Just two weeks after the EU announced major new climate targets, it has given away airspace to American carriers but hasn't gained a clear mandate to combat emissions from those flights. This deal is therefore a serious setback to EU climate policy."

"The EU must ensure that no environmental measures are ruled out in the second round of open skies negotiations and that inclusion of aviation into the emissions trading system is used to maximum environmental effect."

Ends

Contacts:

João Vieira, Policy Officer, T&E, tel: +32 2 289 1043, joao.vieira@transportenvironment.org

Dudley Curtis, Communications Officer, T&E, tel: +32 2 289 1042, dudley.curtis@transportenvironment.org

www.transportenvironment.org

Notes to editors:

Q. How will the open skies deal offset the reductions from the planned integration of aviation into the European Emissions Trading System?

A. The European Commission estimates that the open skies agreement will lead to 25 million extra air passengers between the EU and the US over the next five years, due to increased competition that will lead to lower fares (and freight rates). This will lead to some 3.5 million tonnes of extra CO2 emissions annually. This is about as much as the expected reduction of aviation emissions resulting from the inclusion of aviation into the European emissions trading system.

Facts about aviation and climate change:

- In 2000, aviation was responsible for 4 to 9 per cent of the climate change impact of global human activity – the range reflecting uncertainty surrounding the effect of cirrus clouds

- aviation has by far the greatest climate impact of any transport mode, whether measured per passenger kilometre, per tonne kilometre, per € spent, or per hour spent

- today's passenger aircraft are no more fuel-efficient than those that flew half a century ago

- the importance of aviation for the economy and employment is far less than its importance for climate change

- every segment of the aviation industry including manufacturers, airlines and airports is subsidised and enjoys major tax exemptions

The T&E report "Clearing the Air: The Myth and Reality of Aviation and Climate Change" can be downloaded here:

http://www.transportenvironment.org/Article201.html


Contact the press team

Nico Muzi
Communications Director
+32 (0)484 27 87 91 
nico.muzi@transportenvironment.org

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