Long-haul flights to and from Europe will continue to be excluded from the EU emissions trading system (ETS) after MEPs voted last month to accept a compromise brokered with EU governments. The agreement means that, until 2017, only flights between EU airports will be regulated – a 75% cut in emissions covered compared with the original ETS.
A group of 40 leading international economists has said the UN aviation body, ICAO, must develop a market-based measure that forces air transport to pay the full costs that its emissions cause to global society.
MEPs will vote this week on whether Europe should exercise its sovereign right to regulate aviation emissions in the EU’s own airspace. In a full plenary vote on 3 April, parliamentarians will consider the leading environment committee’s decision to support ‘airspace’ scope for the aviation emissions trading system (ETS), which overturned the recommendation from the trilogue to restrict coverage to intra-EU flights only.
Members of the European Parliament’s environment committee today courageously voted against a bad deal on aviation emissions trading foisted on them by political leaders in the UK, France and Germany. The bad deal, reached during trilogue negotiations, would have scaled back the Commission’s proposal to regulate all aviation emissions in EU airspace, in favour of only covering flights between EU airports until 2016. This would have exempted long-haul flights from all regulation, even though they account for the bulk of EU emissions. CO2 emissions coverage would have been reduced by three quarters compared to the original scheme.
MEPs from the socialist S&D group are still deciding on next week’s vote to only regulate CO2 emissions of intra-European flights which, T&E argues, effectively dismantles the aviation emissions trading system (ETS). The Parliament’s environment committee will consider the trilogue deal, which reflects EU governments’ giving in to pressure from third countries, the aviation industry and Airbus.
EU member states yesterday succumbed to pressure from third countries and the aviation industry and decided to shrink the aviation emissions trading system (ETS) to only cover flights between EU airports until 2016. This decision leaves long-haul flights totally unregulated and sends the signal internationally that EU sovereignty can be curtailed through outside pressure.
Green NGOs  have made formal requests to the Emissions Trading System (ETS) enforcement authorities in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK to take all necessary enforcement actions against airlines that failed to comply with the ETS in 2012.
Aviation is the most carbon intensive transport mode, yet European member states exempt airlines from fuel tax and airline tickets completely from VAT. Now, with its aviation state aid guidelines, the Commission has decided to open the floodgates and expand operating aid to airports in an effort to boost their turnover.
The European Commission today published its final guidelines on state aid for aviation, which will allow regional airports and the airlines serving them to keep receiving subsidies worth an estimated €2-3 billion a year.
Foreign airlines that failed to comply with the EU’s aviation emissions trading system (ETS) must be forced to pay for their pollution, environmental NGOs have told authorities in Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK.