• Leaked report says aviation enters ETS in 2011

    Details are gradually emerging about the Commission’s plans to include aviation in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme. Although an official proposal is still at least a few weeks away, comments from leading figures and leaks in the media have given a picture of the EC’s intentions.

    Earlier this month, the environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said all flights entering and leaving EU territory would be liable for ETS emissions trading. This is a change from the original proposal, which envisaged only flights taking off from EU airports in the ETS. The International Herald Tribune newspaper, which says it has seen a draft of the legislation, says the EU would abandon its inclusion of planes landing if other countries introduce similar measures to limit emissions from aircraft. But the chances of that look bleak at present. The USA is opposed to the EU plans, saying its planes should be exempt from the scheme. Yet the Chicago Convention, the de facto constitution for international aviation, explicitly forbids discrimination of carriers on the basis of their nationality. The International Air Transport Association says the EU should wait for the International Civil Aviation Organisation to find a solution. Icao holds its triennial general assembly in October 2007, but this meeting is more likely to challenge the EU initiative than broaden it into a global course of action. A Commission environment official, Lars Müller, said at a UN climate conference in Nairobi this month: “We know the US is lobbying against this, but we are not inclined to give in.” The ETS’s first phase has been criticised for having too high a “cap” on emissions, which has led many environmental NGOs to question how much difference the ETS would make to aviation. T&E director Jos Dings said: “Legally the US argument has no basis. The Bush administration seems unable to bend at all towards Europe on climate change. Conversely, it’s obvious that they would not allow EU carriers to be excluded from their safety regulations, for instance.” In an indication that the US political climate may be changing, three leading American senators, who will chair committees on energy issues, have written to George Bush saying they are “not satisfied with the level of US participation in international negotiations or in reducing [the USA’s] domestic greenhouse gas emissions” and asking for his support “to pass meaningful climate change legislation in 2007”. This news story is taken from the November 2006 edition of T&E Bulletin.