Airlines ‘are conforming’ with EU rules on emissions

The figures suggest opposition to the EU airline charge is melting away, except in India and China.  The EC says the vast majority of airlines have conformed with EU rules on reporting CO2 emissions. The EU required airlines to report by March 2012 on 2011 emissions as a “dry run”; all did, bar 10 from China and India.  The EU has asked the 10 airlines (8 Chinese, 2 Indian) that have not yet submitted figures to do so by mid June.  Failure to comply would mean an airline would pay a penalty of  €100 / tonne of CO2 emitted, and a ban from EU airspace if they refuse to pay.  In March 2013, the emissions they report will enter the ETS. The issue at present is controversial, with China telling airlines not to take part and US firms mounting a legal challenge. The ETS will add only about $3 to the price of a trans-Atlantic flight. In February, 23 countries that had debated whether to challenge the legality of the EU move under the Chicago Convention decided not to press ahead.

By Richard Black


Environment correspondent, (BBC News)

The figures suggest opposition to the EU airline charge is melting away, except in India and China

The vast majority of airlines have conformed with EU rules on reporting carbon dioxide emissions, the European Commission has said.

From next year, aircraft emissions will be included in the EU carbon market in an attempt to increase efficiency.

The EU required airlines to report by March on 2011 emissions as a “dry run”; all did, bar 10 from China and India.

The issue is controversial, with China telling airlines not to take part and US firms mounting a legal challenge.

Some commentators have suggested the outcome could be a full-scale trade war, even though the measure will add only about $3 to the price of a trans-Atlantic flight.

The EU has said it will suspend the requirement to include all flights beginning or ending in the EU in the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) if other countries can agree a genuinely global mechanism that will charge airlines for the contribution they are making to global warming.

Although aviation accounts for only about 2% of global CO2 emissions, it is the fastest-rising sector, and there are fewer technical options for constraining emissions than in areas such as electricity generation, home heating and land transport.

‘Dry run’

The requirement for airlines to report 2011 emissions by March this year was a dry run for next year, when the 2012 emissions they report by March 2013 will enter the ETS.

Failure to comply at that stage will land the airlines with penalties of 100 euros per tonne of CO2 emitted, and a ban from EU airspace if they refuse to pay.

EU member states have sent letters to the 10 Chinese and Indian airlines that missed the 31 March deadline requiring them to submit their data by mid-June.

Financial penalties are likely to be sought if they do not.

The European Commission calculates that the 10 airlines account for only 3% of the total basket of emissions caused by flights beginning or ending in the EU.

In February, 23 countries that had debated whether to challenge the legality of the EU move under the Chicago Convention, the international aviation treaty, decided not to press ahead.

However, they have left the option open for the future.

EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard also revealed that emissions from sectors covered by the ETS shrank by more than 2% during the course of 2011.

“This good result shows that the ETS is delivering cost-effective emissions reductions,” she said.

“It also emphasises why the ETS remains the engine to drive low-carbon growth in Europe.”

However, at just under 6 euros ($7.70) per tonne, the carbon price remains far too low to drive significant investment in cleaner technology or practices.

Ms Hedegaard confirmed that the commission is seeking to withdraw a batch of pollution permits from the market in order to drive the price higher.


Also by the BBC

Limited moves on EU flying charge


Indian, Chinese airlines fail to comply with EU CO2 law

By Ben Garside and Andrew Allan
LONDON, May 15 (Reuters Point Carbon)

Airlines from  China and India may face penalties from European governments after they failed to comply with EU rules to report their emissions of carbon dioxide from flights using
EU airports last year, the European Commission said Tuesday.

In a status update on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the Commission’s climate department said that there had been “systematic non-reporting of 2011 emissions
from flights to or from EU airports by airlines based in China and India”.

“This concerns 10 commercial airlines… representing less than 1 percent of emission reports and less than 3 percent of emissions,” the Commission statement added.

European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told reporters in Brussels that eight Chinese and two Indian airlines had failed to report data and that those airlines would be sent a formal notification “to remind them of their obligations”.

The carriers will be given until mid-June this year to report back their data.  “It is then up to the member states where they (the airlines) operate to apply penalties,” she said, adding that penalties vary depending on national governments.

The Indian and Chinese governments earlier this year told their airlines not to comply with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, claiming the law was illegal, it could hurt their carriers and eventually lead to a trade war.

A refusal by airlines to comply with the scheme could hit demand for EU Allowances in a market that is swimming in a surplus of 900 million permits that are trading 50 cents above record lows at 6.50 euros.

Airlines joined the $120-billion carbon market on 1 Jan.  2012 and analysts expect them to be the second biggest buyer of EU Allowances during the 2012-2020 period behind the electricity generators.

Airlines have until April 30 2013 to surrender either aviation CO2 allowances, EU Allowances or U.N. backed carbon credits for each tonne of carbon dioxide they emit
on every journey to or from an EU airport in 2012.  The EC said almost all other big airlines using EU airports reported their 2011 emissions on time




More on the ETS at  EU Emissions Trading System

including recent news:

The inclusion of international airlines into the EU ETS is largely compatible with world trade rules, finds study

May 4, 2012     (From GreenAir Online) The legal case against the inclusion of international aviation into the EU ETS has centred on whether the EU has the power to regulate emissions produced outside the EU. Also whether the EU’s scheme is consistent with its obligations under applicable bilateral and multilateral agreements governing air transport services. And third is whether it is compatible with the EU’s WTO obligations. This latter challenge is the subject of a paper by Dr Lorand Bartels of the Faculty of Law at Cambridge University. Bartels concludes that despite the complexities of WTO law, the EU scheme in the main is justifiable on environmental grounds and, insofar as the scheme affects services such as tourism, it is likely a WTO panel would lack jurisdiction to determine on a violation until ICAO remedies had been exhausted.    Click here to view full story…

US representative to ICAO says general consensus remains that market measures should only be implemented from 2020

April 30, 2012     The US permanent representative at ICAO has recently said that general consensus within ICAO since 2007 has been that market-based measures (which means emissions trading, emission related charges and taxes, and emissions offsetting) to limit the growth of aviation emissions will not come into play until 2020. He believes that the consensus on the delay in bringing in emissions trading etc, although not unanimous, continues, and he is not convinced it will be changed at the 2013 Assembly. He was critical of the slow progress at ICAO to deliver on a CO2 standard for airframes and engines that is due to be produced in 2013. He told ICAO that he expected technological and operational improvement measures being used in the period to 2020, and only carbon trading perhaps after that.    Click here to view full story…

China’s emissions trading pilots are starting to take shape as the EU’s flagship climate policy looks increasingly fragile.

April 24, 2012    There are 7 new pilot carbon emissions trading schemes in China, 5 in municipalities (Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tainjin) – and two provinces (Guangdong and Hubei from 2013). These pilot projects will pave the way for a national trading scheme (ETS) to be implemented in 2016. Details are steadily emerging of the pilot schemes and China’s commitment to tackling climate change is growing increasingly clear, making it more difficult for Europe to argue that it is out in front and unable to increase its ambitions. At the same time as developing its own emissions trading schemes China is currently objecting to flights between China and Europe being included in the EU ETS. A new report from Sandbag suggests that China could include flights from the major cities within the emissions trading pilots and thereby enact the equivalent measure clause which would remove them from the EU scheme.   Click here to view full story…


US and India warn Europe that row over Aviation EU ETS could derail global climate change negotiations

April 19, 2012    The US special envoy for climate change, Todd Stern, has warned that the inclusion of foreign airlines in the EU ETS could hold up global climate change talks. He said that just because progress on a global agreement over aviation emissions reductions at ICAO had proved difficult, “it did not mean the multilateral approach should be thrown away.” While US carriers continue to comply under protest with the EU ETS, 2 Indian airlines serving Europe have been forbidden to take part and have failed to submit their 2011 emissions reports by the March 31 deadline, leaving open the possibility of fines by their UK authority. Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said Europe “could not accept threats of all kinds of trouble just because a small price has to be paid for the pollution caused by travel, while no one grumbles about paying for online tickets, extra luggage or seat reservations.”    Click here to view full story…


Indian environment minister says EU ETS is ‘deal-breaker for climate talks’

April 13, 2012      India has formally forbidden its airlines from participating in the EU ETS, having earlier said it would boycott the scheme. The Indian environment minister says the ETS is a “deal-breaker” for global climate change talks, and she it saying the ETS is trying to disguise unilateral trade measures under climate change. A European Commission spokesman said “I don’t see why this should be a deal-breaker if both share the same objective, which is reducing global emissions.” The EU continues patiently to repeat that it has been driven to make all airlines pay for their emissions after more than a decade of talks at the United Nations’ ICAO failed to find a global solution to rising emissions of greenhouse gases from aviation. However, ICAO has now been bounced into more action, though many environmental groups still question whether it can deliver a viable plan.   Click here to view full story…

US airlines drop legal opposition to EU ETS

 29.3.2012  United, American Airlines, and their trade association, Airlines for America, gave up on a lost cause, a late and ill-conceived legal challenge to the European Union’s landmark law limiting global warming pollution from aviation. While the airlines gave no explanation for abruptly dropping the case in the UK High Court in London, it’s likely their attorneys realized their efforts would be fruitless given the strength of the December 21 ruling from the European Court of Justice upholding the EU directive as consistent with international law.   After pursuing the case for more than two years and losing in the European court, the airlines filed papers asking permission to add new claims just before the case was scheduled to close. The High Court had planned to hear that request on Thursday, but yesterday the airlines withdrew this request.