• Emissions trading for aviation moves closer

    The chances of Europe’s airlines having to join the EU emissions trading scheme (EU-ETS) within a few years are likely to increase when the Commission publishes proposals on aviation in the next few weeks.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]A communication was due in July, but is now expected in September or October. But reports have already leaked out, suggesting that all flights departing the EU as well as intra-EU flights would be subjected to the scheme.

    T&E director Jos Dings said: “We’re relieved that the Commission favours the inclusion of flights departing the EU, but they are worryingly silent on two important issues; the principles that will decide the overall emissions cap and on how permits will be distributed. Like the Commission’s own feasibility study we believe that auctioning permits rather than giving them away is crucial to the effectiveness of the scheme.”

    The leaked proposal also states that a “harmonised allocation methodology should be agreed” – hinting that the Commission wishes to avoid the political horse trading that accompanied the drawing up of each Member State’s National Allocation Plan before the EU-ETS began in January.

    The draft also recommends other measures alongside emissions trading, in particular applying energy taxation to aviation fuel (a “kerosene tax”) and improving the efficiency of Europe’s air traffic management. But in recent months airlines have said their willingness to embrace emissions trading is based on it being their only environmental requirement. T&E and other groups have argued all along that only a package of measures can ensure meaningful environmental benefits.

    The Commission proposal only states it will endeavour to “keep all options open”.

    This news story is taken from the September 2005 edition of T&E Bulletin.