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European Parliament votes to include aviation in EU emissions trading

ATW Daily News by Cathy Buyck 14 Nov. 07

European Parliament yesterday voted as expected to include aviation in the EU's Emissions Trading System from 2011 and to place tighter pollution caps on airlines than initially had been proposed by the European Commission.

The move sets up a likely legal challenge from the US and any number of nations opposed to the EU's unilateral action.

The EP voted to include international flights to and from EU airports and intra-EU flights in the ETS from 2011. The EC had proposed bringing non-EC carriers into the ETS in 2012. The EP also voted to set the sector's cap at 90% of average emissions from 2004-06, tighter than the 100% cap first proposed by the EC. The EU's Council of Environmental Ministers, set to meet on Dec. 20, must accept all amendments adopted by the EP yesterday or the ETS proposal relating to aviation will return to the EP for another round of voting.

Assn. of European Airlines called the vote "a massive blow to the viability and competitiveness of the European airline industry." AEA Secretary General Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus added that the action represents "political compromises more than it does the reality of the environmental challenge." He said AEA airlines will push the Council of Environmental Ministers to reject the aviation ETS scheme approved yesterday and send it back to the EP for major revisions.

"Climate change is a serious problem and hypocrisy is not the answer," IATA DG and CEO Giovanni Bisignani said. "We could be saving 12 million tonnes of CO2 annually with an effective Single European Sky. Instead of making that a reality, Europe is single-mindedly pursuing a political agenda."

ICAO delegates supported a resolution at the organization's 36th Assembly in September stating that "emissions trading schemes should not be applied [by states and governing bodies such as the European Union] to aircraft of foreign countries without mutual consent," effectively rejecting non-EU airlines' participation in the ETS (ATWOnline, Oct. 1). Bisignani said that "Europe's go-it-alone approach" and its "unilateral" imposition of the ETS on foreign airlines "is a clear breach of the Chicago Convention" and will result in "trade and legal battles [that] will distract governments from making real progress."

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