The European Commission’s proposal to permanently remove flights to and from Europe from the EU ETS has been replaced with a derogation lasting until the end of 2023. Furthermore the deal envisages much greater scrutiny of the global measure adopted last year by the UN’s aviation agency ICAO, which aims to offset emissions from international aviation above 2020 levels but is missing important rules regarding enforcement and environmental integrity.
Andrew Murphy, aviation manager at T&E, said: “The provisional deal ensures there is no blank cheque for ICAO, and recognises the need for aviation to remain under a reformed EU ETS which will now see the cap on aviation emissions reduce each year. This is particularly important given that so little is known about the environmental effectiveness of the global measure.”
However, the agreement still falls short of what is required to address the sector’s soaring emissions, which in Europe grew 8% in 2016 alone. Even a continued EU ETS, the environmental integrity of which is much stronger than what is being proposed by ICAO, won’t alone be enough to set the sector on an emissions pathway consistent with the Paris agreement. Given these challenges, it is especially welcome that the deal contains a commitment to address aviation’s considerable non-CO2 effects.
Andrew Murphy concluded: “A reformed EU ETS is also only part of puzzle. The EU must continue to promote complementary measures such as ending tax exemptions and phasing out state aid to the sector. The Commission must also follow through on the commitment to address non-CO2 emissions.”
ICAO is expected to finalise rules for its global measure within the next 12 months, with the EU expected to propose implementing legislation in response within a further 12 months. T&E will continue to ensure that the global measure has the maximum level of environmental integrity, and that it does not undercut greater regional action.