The agreement reached last night between EU institutions regarding aviation’s inclusion in Europe’s emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) introduces some welcome improvements to the original proposal but much more is needed, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said.
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’.
While fuel and ticket taxes, an effective emissions trading system, aircraft standards and other policies (discussed in our decarbonisation of aviation briefing) are essential to lower aviation emissions, sustainable, advanced low-carbon fuels will likely have to contribute too. This paper outlines how supply of sustainable fuels could be encouraged through the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) in the period 2020-30.
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 European Parliament's environment committee voted today to strengthen the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) for aviation while also demanding a review in 2019 of the UN’s voluntary aviation offsetting scheme, known as CORSIA. The vote underlined the considerable scepticism surrounding the effectiveness of the global scheme while reinforcing Europe’s right to maintain an environmentally meaningful and strengthened regional measure, green group Transport & Environment (T&E) said.
Non-CO2 effects of aviation have been acknowledged by scientists but ignored by policymakers. It is estimated that gases other than CO2 have at least as large a climate impact as CO2. The European Commission has so far failed to address aviation’s non-CO2 effects despite undertaking to do so in 2008. This risks undermining the EU’s climate policy. In this briefing T&E recommends that the Commission now acts on its 2008 promise and proposes a charge on NOx emissions and earmarks funds for research into other non-CO2 effects such as contrail and cirrus formation and their avoidance.
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’.
T&E has responded to the European Commission's Public Consultation on Passengers Rights in Multimodal Transport. Through-ticketing has been essential for the growth of aviation and connectivity in Europe. By contrast, national rail companies have largely avoided these types of agreements because of competitive reasons and accordingly the opportunity for cross border rail travel has suffered enormously. Rail companies should start sharing data to make through-ticketing possible for train travel.
This blog post was originally published on EurActivCarbon from all sectors in the EU’s emissions trading system decreased in 2016 with one exception: aviation. CO2 from flights within Europe grew 8%, according to figures released last week by the European Commission. Low-fares airlines drove this growth, with Ryanair, Wizz Air, Eurowings and Norwegian all registering double-digit increases in emissions. These airlines are now huge emitters with carbon footprints exceeding those of some small countries. For example, Ryanair’s flights within Europe emit more CO2 than Costa Rica or Cyprus.