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EU Commission welcomes climate deal

Oct. 12, London — The EU Commission has welcomed a global agreement committing the aviation sector to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission curbs, insisting that the new deal will allow it to press ahead with existing plans to incorporate airlines into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) from 2012.


October 12, 2010
By Argus Media

Oct. 12, London — The EU Commission has welcomed a global agreement committing the aviation sector to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission curbs, insisting that the new deal will allow it to press ahead with existing plans to incorporate airlines into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) from 2012.

Delegates at the UN International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) assembly finally agreed at the end of last week in Montreal to an enhanced package of measures aimed at limiting GHG emissions from airlines. As part of the package, ICAO member countries are to work towards a medium-term goal of capping carbon emissions from international aviation from 2020, as well as a global framework for market-based measures such as emissions trading by 2013. The ICAO agreement also reaffirms a pre-existing ICAO target of improving fuel efficiency by 2pc/yr to 2050.

“The ICAO has taken a step in the right direction,” EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard said after the agreement was reached. “Critically the deal is a good basis for proceeding swiftly with the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS,” she said, citing the ICAO's acceptance that some member states may take more ambitious action prior to 2020.

The EU's decision to include all flights from and into the EU in its regional trading scheme has caused huge resentment within the industry, spawning a legal challenge from the US that is now being considered by the European Court of Justice.

But the commission believes this latest deal at the ICAO opens the way for the EU ETS to cover airlines, since it refrains from language that would make aviation's inclusion in the scheme dependent on the mutual agreement of other ICAO member countries. For its part, the EU has agreed to discuss with third countries how emissions generated by incoming flights from outside the EU can be dealt with.

The commission also insists that the EU ETS is fully consistent with the main principles that the ICAO agreement says must underpin any global framework for market-based measures. These principles include minimising market distortions, safeguarding the fair treatment of aviation relative to other sectors and ensuring that aviation emissions are accounted for only once.