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“The decision making process about the future of aviation should happen in a transparent manner,” says Marjolein Demmers, Director at Natuur & Milieu, “Air traffic has a huge impact on the climate, so all of us are affected by the consequences of these decisions. But the documents are currently being kept away from environmental organisations, journalists and even parliamentarians. This greatly hinders an open debate and well-informed decisions.”
CO2 standards for airplanes are set at an international level in a rather sketchy manner: the UN agency ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) decides on the new standards based on numbers, analyses and advise in the CAEP-report (Committee Aviation Environmental Protection). These standards enter automatically into European law. The Netherlands - an ICAO member - has a copy of this report. The Dutch government states that they are not allowed to share this information. This lack of transparency is why Natuur & Milieu, with the support of Transport & Environment and ClientEarth, is going to court.
Even parliamentarians are not allowed to access the documents. This makes an open and democratic debate about the desired CO2 standards impossible at a national or EU level. This is now also the subject of complaint to the EU Ombudsperson. MEP Bas Eickhout filed a complaint with the EU Ombudsperson on 4 April.
CO2 from aviation is a major contributor to global emissions and is projected to double between now and 2050. “Strict CO2 standards for airplanes are important to limit these emissions,” says Demmers. “But we won’t know if the new standards are ambitious enough unless we know exactly what data they are based on. Unfortunately a court case is necessary to finally get this information on the table.”
The court case was filed by Natuur & Milieu, with support from environmental organisation Transport & Environment (T&E) and environmental lawyers ClientEarth. The hearing takes place tomorrow, 10 April 2018 at 10.00 at the courthouse Midden-Nederland in Utrecht. The final ruling will be at a later date, which is yet to be set.