The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) is a programme aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by trading and selling emissions permits on a free market. In the first phase of the scheme, around 10,000 major land-based emitters such as power stations, and metal factories were included.
Airlines will be included in the EU ETS as of 1 January 2012. Airlines will have to surrender allowances covering the emissions of all flights they have operated in a given year that departed and/or arrived at an EU airport.
The background briefing explains events leading up to the declaration and links to a legal case brought by three American airlines against the EU.