Aviation is a substantial and growing driver of climate change, currently responsible for almost 5% of global warming. The objectives of the Paris Agreement cannot be achieved without action to rein in its emissions growth. This T&E briefing outlines how, at its triennial assembly, ICAO has an opportunity to adopt a global market-based measure which can be a starting point for greater global ambition. However, negotiations dominated by the need to protect industry and favour historic emitters is weakening the prospect of a credible deal.
Despite being in need of reform, the EU’s aviation ETS is functioning, is being complied with, and has the potential to deliver real emissions reductions, a new analysis shows. Its key design features – emissions allowances instead of offsets, being binding instead of voluntary, and full instead of partial coverage of emissions – are all superior to the draft global deal under negotiation at the UN’s aviation agency ICAO. Europe is under pressure to dismantle its regional measure even though discussions on a global measure at ICAO remain fractious.
· 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.
Director-general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Alexandre de Juniac, recently called on the EU to replace the current EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) for flights within Europe with the UN offsetting scheme, CORSIA. In a letter in response, T&E, Climate Action Network Europe and Carbon Market Watch state that such a move would constitute a substantial cut in Europe’s climate ambition, reducing the emissions reduction obligation on airlines operating in Europe by three quarters. It would also represent a weakening of Europe’s international climate commitment and a distortion of competition within Europe’s single market.
In a plenary vote on 14 February, the European Parliament will adopt its position on reforms to Europe’s emissions trading system (EU ETS) for the 4th trading period (2021-2030). These reforms aim to fix major issues with EU ETS such as the need for tighter reduction caps and the oversupply of allowances which has depressed the carbon price.
Strengthening the ETS as proposed by MEPs will cut almost four times more emissions from flights within Europe than the UN’s new offsetting scheme for aviation CO2, a new independent study has revealed. Europe has faced sustained pressure from industry and other states to remove aviation from its ETS and leave climate action to UN aviation body ICAO. But the study, commissioned by Transport & Environment, also finds that the ICAO global scheme will deliver less for the climate than the original aviation ETS, which only covers flights in, from and to Europe.