MEPs fight for stricter terms for aviation in ETS

May 14, 2008

The terms on which aviation will enter the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) are still the subject of fierce debate, following recommendations by an influential MEP that mean the European Parliament is pressing for stricter terms than ministers want.

Earlier this month, the Parliament’s environment committee discussed the recommendations of its rapporteur Peter Liese. Liese has made it clear that he wants MEPs to stand by the stand they took in the autumn and push for the strictest terms. Among the elements of Liese’s report that conflict with what ministers want are: • MEPs want 75% of allowances to be free when aviation enters the ETS in 2011, but for all allowances to be paid-for by 2013; the Commission wants 20% paid-for in 2013 with the end of free allowances not until 2020, while ministers want 90% to be free and no commitment to ending free allowances • MEPs want the limit on airlines’ emissions to be at 90% of what they were in 2004-06 up to 2012, with the 2013-20 period agreed now; the Commission wants the level set at 100% of 2004-06. T&E policy officer João Vieira said: ‘What is clear is that the Parliament is not just wanting stricter standards, but a set of standards that will actually reduce aviation’s environmental impact. The terms ministers and officials want for airlines will do little or nothing to reduce aviation’s environmental impact. We now need leadership from our MEPs.’ Liese faced a couple of dissenting voices over his wish for the money raised from aviation to be used specifically for action to combat climate change. ‘I sometimes get the impression colleagues didn’t quite remember how they voted at first reading,’ he said. A group of trade bodies and aircraft makers last month signed a declaration saying they would address the industry’s impact on climate change and aim to develop aircraft that will one day achieve ‘carbon-free travel’. But the declaration has been widely dismissed by environmental NGOs for having no specific targets.

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