EU ETS: new stricter aviation pollution rules

“So far, aviation has been given special treatment, and its pollution is increasing at an alarming rate.Today, EU lawmakers took a welcome step towards levelling the playing field with other modes of transport and signalled that an ineffective international deal will not replace European climate action.” Said Kelsey Perlman, Policy Officer for Aviation at Carbon Market Watch.

The European Parliament adopted its position on aviation’s role under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). Lawmakers agreed to continue the exclusion of international flights from the EU ETS until 2021 but took steps to ensure that the sector will have to reduce and pay more for its soaring emissions.

Decision makers backed the Parliament’s environment committee position adopted in July.

They voted to continue the exclusion of flights to-and-from Europe while the rules for a global aviation deal adopted last year are being drafted. However, they want to limit the exclusion to January 2021 when the global measure will enter into force.

In another welcome move, the Parliament supported the Commission’s proposal to introduce a declining cap for aviation emissions from 2021 and proposed to increase the share of auctioning from 15% to 50%, earmarking all revenues for financing climate related projects.

The proposed measures are, however, not enough to rein in the sector’s emissions which could grow by 300% over the next 30 years.

Kelsey Perlman concluded:  “To bring aviation in line with the Paris Agreement climate goals, we need a robust carbon price to incentivise efficiency and a shift to more sustainable transport modes. This means full auctioning and an end to subsidies, tax exemptions, and generous state aid.”

Informal negotiations between the EU Member States and the Parliament will start on 25th of September. They must agree on the law by April 2018 when airlines need to surrender allowances to cover their emissions in 2017.

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