European Commission puts aviation carbon scheme on hold

European Commission plans to force airlines to buy carbon permits have been put on hold, heading off the threat of a global aviation trade war.  Commissioner Hedegaard said: “To create a positive atmosphere, we have agreed to stop the clock”.  She also set ICAO 12 month to come up with its own scheme, warning the EU would resurrect its own plans if it failed to do so.   The airlines had to account for all carbon emitted from January 2012, with the first payment deadline coming up in April 2013. Third countries such as the United States, Russia and China have said this amounts to an illegal tax.  A spokesman for WWF  UK added: “The Commission’s move on aviation in the ETS buys some time for ICAO, who were arguably galvanised into action by the EU in the first place after years of foot-dragging on this issue.  Now it’s up to other countries which have been opposing action on tackling the climate impacts of aviation, especially the United States, to show that they are serious about pushing for a global solution. This is a great chance for ICAO members to show leadership and push for a global agreement on this issue.” Foreign airlines will need to continue accounting for their emissions, but will not be subject to any payment during the freeze.

 

 

 

European Commission puts aviation carbon scheme on hold

European Commission plans to force airlines to buy carbon permits have been put on hold, heading off the threat of a global aviation trade war.

EU carbon scheme put on hold

EU carbon scheme put on hold Photo: Alamy
 

 

 

By , Transport Editor (Telegraph)

12 Nov 2012

The surprise move, announced by Connie Hedegaard, the EU’s climate commissioner, came against a backdrop of threats of retaliation by America, Russia, India and China if the scheme went ahead.
 

Under the Commission’s proposals all airlines using EU airports would have had to participate in the scheme requiring carriers to buy permits if they exceeded their allowance for greenhouse gas emissions.

They faced the threat of fines if they refused to do so, a move which infuriated Governments outside the EU and triggered fears of retaliation if the scheme went ahead.

Airlines said it would cost them £11 billion over the next eight years to implement. [These costs are low per passenger – maybe £3 or so for a  trans-Atlantic flight, and generally passed on to the passenger, so not a cost to the airlines].

In September the US senate passed a law giving the American transportation secretary power to order the country’s airlines not to co-operate with a scheme which, it said, violated international law.

Announcing plans to put ETS on hold, Commissioner Hedegaard said: “To create a positive atmosphere, we have agreed to stop the clock”

She also set ICAO 12 month to come up with its own scheme, warning the EU would resurrect its own plans if it failed to do so.

The move was welcomed by United, the world’s largest carrier following its merger with its US rival Continental.

“We have always advocated a global solution by ICAO to address the climate impacts of aviation, and ETS was an obstacle to progress.

“While we believe ETS is illegal, we welcome its suspension to allow ICAO to forge an international agreement,” a spokesman said.

The EU decision was also welcomed by British Airways. “We have repeatedly called for a global deal on aviation emissions, and we welcome the progress currently being made at an ICAO level to achieve that,” a spokesman said.

A spokesman for WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund, added: “The Commission’s move on aviation in the ETS buys some time for ICAO, who were arguably galvanised into action by the EU in the first place after years of foot-dragging on this issue.

“Now it’s up to other countries who have been opposing action on tackling the climate impacts of aviation, especially the United States, to show that they are serious about pushing for a global solution. This is a great chance for ICAO members to show leadership and push for a global agreement on this issue.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/9672530/European-Commission-puts-aviation-carbon-scheme-on-hold.html#

 

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See also

 EC freezes ETS for airlines flying to and from Europe till November 2013 progress by ICAO

12.11.2012

The EU has announced that it will delay the date by which airlines have to pay for their emissions on flights to and from Europe. This is very disappointing  news. However, they will only delay until there is progress by ICAO on producing a global deal on aviation emissions. If there is not adequqate progress by ICAO when it meets in November 2013, the EU ETS will continue to include international aviation, as it does now. Flights within Europe remain in the ETS as before – whether by EU airlines or non-EU airlines – the change is only for flights to and from the EU. Connie Hedegaard, announcing the change, said EU member states will still have to formally endorse the Commission’s exemption for non-EU carriers. The change has occurred because of intense pressure from countries such as the USA, India and China – and lobbying from Airbus on fears the ETS is causing it to lose plane sales.  The EC has repeatedly said it only included aviation in the ETS after more than a decade of inaction at the ICAO. Unfortunately the concessions made by the EC are much larger than required, but on the positive side, the EC can no longer be accused of not doing anything in response to voluble continuing criticism.

 http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2283

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EU to exempt foreign airlines from ETS

12.11.2012  (European Voice.com)

 

Commission wants to freeze ETS enforcement until Autumn 2013

 
Connie Hedegaard, European commissioner for climate action, announced today (12 November) that the Commission intends to temporarily exempt non-EU flights from the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in response to progress made in global talks.  Last week, a meeting of the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) established a high-level group on market-based mechanisms and decided to limit the number of options being considered on a global level from three to one.
 
Hedegaard said today that this means a global deal on reducing aviation emissions could be reached next year. The Commission has said such a deal is a precondition for aviation to be exempted from the ETS.  “In order to create a positive atmosphere around these very important [ICAO] negotiations, I have just recommended in a telephone conference with the 27 member states that the European Union stops the clock when it comes to enforcement of the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS to and from non-European countries, until after the ICAO general assembly next Autumn,” Hedegaard said at a press conference.
 
Foreign airlines will need to continue accounting for their emissions, but will not be subject to any payment during the freeze. “If this exercise ends in nothing, then needless to say we are back to exactly where we are today with the EU ETS, and we are back there automatically,” she said, adding that this was a “window of opportunity” for third countries to agree to a global deal.  Under the ETS legislation, all flights landing or taking of from an airport in the EU must purchase credits for the emissions emitted from the entire flight, even if most of the flight takes place outside EU airspace.

 
The airlines had to account for all carbon emitted from January 2012, with the first payment deadline coming up in April 2013. Third countries such as the United States, Russia and China have said this amounts to an illegal tax. Member states and the European Parliament will have to approve the Commission’s proposal for a freeze. Hedegaard said regardless of when the legislation can enter force, political groups and member states can send a political signal by endorsing the idea for a freeze now.Environmental campaigner Greenpeace criticised the Commission’s decision. “It is still highly uncertain whether ICAO will actually deliver an effective international mechanism by autumn next year,” said Greenpeace in a statement. The group urged MEPs and member states to reject the freeze proposal, saying there has not been enough progress at ICAO to warrant it.“Only after adoption of an effective and ambitious global mechanism by ICAO should the EU start revising aviation rules under ETS,” the group said.German Liberal MEP Holger Krahmer, who has been critical of the inclusion of foreign airlines, said the Commission is trying to put a positive spin on what amounts to backing down on a failed policy in the face of international pressure. “This is a friendly formulation for [saying] the project is buried,” he said. “The conclusion is, a European island is not the solution for climate protection.”Campaign groups said now that the EU has frozen the aviation issue, third countries must respond by agreeing a global deal. “Obama finally has the chance to prove that he means what he said on climate change in his victory speech,” said Bill Hemmings of Green transport group T&E. “The US ambassador said the US could not talk with ‘the threat of the ETS hanging over everybody’s head’; if today’s move still does not clear the sky, we don’t know what would.”