Mixed response as MEPs try to strengthen aviation rules

October 16, 2007

The European Parliament’s environment committee has told the Commission it needs to be stricter on the rules for aviation to enter the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). But its action received a mixed response from environmental NGOs, who say the committee’s stance weakens the position the full Parliament took 15 months ago.

[mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]The environment committee met earlier this month to discuss the Commission’s proposed legislation that will enable aviation to enter the ETS. It voted to tighten the legislation in two important respects: it suggested a tighter cap on emissions from aircraft (75% of the average annual emissions of 2004-06, as opposed to the Commission’s 100%), and it voted for all airlines to enter the scheme in 2010, not 2011 for EU airlines and 2012 for all others.

MEPs also approved the idea that 50% of emissions permits should be handed free of charge to airlines. This is lower than the 85% their colleagues on the transport committee had called for, but still offers scope for airlines to profit from the scheme.


The vote was welcomed by environmental groups, but also criticised. A statement by four NGOs – T&E, WWF, FoE and CAN – said the committee had weakened the stance MEPs took in July 2006 when they said aviation should cut emissions in line with Kyoto Protocol targets. They also said the position adopted now was hard to reconcile with the EU’s commitment to cut overall greenhouse gas emissions by 20-30% by 2020.

‘A year ago, MEPs were talking big on tackling aviation emissions,’ said T&E aviation expert João Vieira. ‘Now there seems to be one rule for the most polluting form of transport on the planet, and other for all other modes.’

Richard Dyer of FoE said: ‘Recent research by climate change academics found that a strong aviation ETS could help drive aviation technology innovation and provide the necessary price signals to curb growth, but now MEPs have backtracked from supporting all the improvements needed to achieve this.’

The environment committee’s decisions (approved with 50 in favour and none against) will now go to the November plenary, and then be discussed by EU environment ministers.

This news story is taken from the October 2007 edition of T&E Bulletin.

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