Flights to and from Europe are set to lose an indefinite exemption from the EU emissions trading system (ETS) after MEPs voted to limit the arrangement until 2021. The European Parliament made its decision pending further information about the UN aviation body ICAO’s own global offsetting measure known as ‘CORSIA’.
The rising scepticism about a global measure to partially offset aviation emissions was underscored this month with MEPs demanding a review in 2019 of the UN’s voluntary scheme, known as CORSIA. The European Parliament environment committee’s call for the review highlights Europe’s need to maintain an environmentally meaningful and strengthened regional measure, T&E said. The committee also voted to strengthen the EU emissions trading system’s (ETS) provisions on aviation.
The Green Party in Scotland has analysed the proposed halving of the tax levied on air passengers leaving Scottish airports and found most of the money saved will go to wealthy frequent flyers and businesses. T&E says the Scottish government’s proposals are just the latest in a series of unjustified government concessions to the aviation industry.
The former EU climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard has warned that the proposed agreement to stabilise emissions from aircraft will only work if all the details are transparent. Writing on the Climate Home website, she said without transparency there is a risk that airlines will offset their growing greenhouse gas emissions against projects that either don’t do enough to combat climate change or are being ‘double counted’.
Carbon offsets are not working, according to a study by the European Commission. This measure allows polluters to pay others to reduce their emissions, so they can continue to pollute. The research found that 85% of the offset projects used by the EU under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) failed to reduce emissions.
A new study into the potential of biofuels to reduce aviation’s environmental impact has said that even advanced biofuels will not decarbonise aviation. The findings from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) come just four months after the EU transport commissioner Violeta Bulc said biofuels were the ‘best choice’ to start decarbonising air transport. The findings also support what T&E and four other NGOs told Bulc in January.
Flights to and from Europe would continue to go unregulated, indefinitely, within the EU emissions trading system (ETS), under a proposal last month from the European Commission. The proposal was made following the Commission’s assessment of the ICAO agreement reached last October ostensibly to address global international aviation emissions.
The contribution flying makes to climate change is finally starting to slow down plans to expand a number of airports across Europe. Two recent decisions in particular – one in Vienna, the other in London – suggest that commitments to reducing climate changing gases are causing rethinks over the growth of airports.
· MEPs also back tightening cap on aviation emissions.Support from ports and cargo owners for last week’s vote by MEPs to include shipping emissions in the EU emissions trading system (ETS) has been sharply criticised by shipowners. The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) said it ‘deplores’ the shipping industry’s backing for Europe regulating ship CO2 as a ‘first move’ to kick start action at global level. Shipping in Europe has CO2 emissions equal those of the Netherlands.