[mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]In an interview with a British newspaper The Guardian, the EU’s transport commissioner said he would make the environment a priority in the second round of ‘open skies’ negotiations, which begin next month, following the end of limits on flights between Europe and America at the end of last month.
In a move welcomed by environmental NGOs, Barrot said negotiations on the second phase would include a demand that US airlines join the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) or an equivalent scheme in the USA. ‘It is always possible to imagine reducing the number of flights or suspending certain rights,’ he was quoted as saying.
He added that requests by Washington for data on passengers flying through EU airspace were ‘excessive’, and that aviation security measures across the Atlantic are becoming too strict.
The Bush administration is currently refusing to let American airlines join a carbon trading scheme, but Barrot said he was hopeful that the negotiating climate would change when President Bush and his vice-president Dick Cheney leave office in January.
‘The ideal would be go get the US to join a common emissions trading scheme,’ he added, ‘or at least to accept American airlines joining the system for flights into Europe.’
• A report for WWF says power companies in five EU member states could make huge ‘windfall profits’ from selling emissions credits they have been given free under the ETS. The five countries analysed (D/E/GB/I/PL) could see power companies making up to €71 billion over four years from free credits. The findings will increase pressure for airlines to have to buy a larger percentage of credits when aviation enters the ETS than the Commission currently envisages.