Britain intends to stay in Europe’s ETS (including aviation) until at least 2020
Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Clare Perry, has confirmed that Britain intends to remain in Europe’s emission trading system (ETS) until at least the end of its 3rd trading phase (running from 2013-2020). The status of Britain’s participation in the scheme following the country’s exit from the European Union in March 2019 had been unclear until now. Formal agreement is still needed, but BEIS wanted to provide certainty for companies covered by the scheme until at least 2020. Currently aviation is included in the ETS, but after serious earlier opposition and difficulties, it covers only flights made within Europe, between European countries – none leaving, or entering, Europe. Clare Perry said Britain is committed to using a price on carbon as a means to reduce emissions but would use the country’s exit from the European Union to “take the opportunity to see if there are other opportunities” to achieve this.
Britain intends to stay in Europe’s carbon market until at least 2020
The status of Britain’s participation in the scheme following the country’s exit from the European Union in March 2019 had been unclear until now.
Energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry said it had yet to be formally agreed with European lawmakers but the government wanted to provide certainty for companies covered by the scheme until at least the end of phase three.
Companies from these sectors have urged Britain to stay in the scheme until the end of the current trading phase to avoid disruption, but are divided over Britain’s longer term participation in the scheme.
Perry said Britain is committed to using a price on carbon as a means to reduce emissions but would use the country’s exit from the European Union to “take the opportunity to see if there are other opportunities” to achieve this.
Rules of the ETS are set by the European Parliament, and enforced by the European Court of Justice, and industry experts have said it could be politically difficult to justify staying within the scheme.
Britain has a legally binding target to cut emissions of harmful greenhouse gases, such as those produced by fossil-fuel-based power plants, by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.
Reporting by Susanna Twidale;
Editing by Louise Heavens and Edmund Blair
European Commission moves to Brexit-proof Emissions Trading System
The European Commission has agreed on a new measure to protect its Emissions Trading System (ETS) against a potential breakdown in Brexit negotiations. The EU ETS sets a cap on the total emissions from electricity generation and enables UK-based industries to purchase emissions reductions from overseas. Member States met on 18th October to agree in principle to change ETS regulations to nullify any permits to emit greenhouse gases under the scheme if they are issued by a country that leaves the EU from January 2018 onwards. The UK is the 2nd largest CO2 emitter in the EU, and research suggests that a UK departure from the EU ETS would tighten the supply-demand balance of the system by around 745 million tonnes. The new measure is intended to stop potential sell-offs of permits if UK businesses are ejected from the market because of Brexit. The Committee on Climate Change found that if the UK did leave the ETS, the 5th carbon budget should be extended to a 61% emissions reduction by 2030. The recently-announced Clean Growth Strategy outlines the trajectory towards the approved 57% reduction, but analysis suggests the strategy will fall short. Aviation is only partly included in the ETS, with just intra-European flights.
European Parliament make progress on dealing with aviation non-CO2 impacts
The meeting on 17th October between the European Council and EU Parliament has finally come to an agreement on how to deal with non CO2 emissions. This is at least 9 years overdue. It opens a fundamentally new and important avenue of aviation climate mitigation work. The non-CO2 impacts on climate forcing are short-lived but they are potentially of great magnitude – potentially more than double CO2 according to the EC’s own assessment. A research consortium led by Professor David Lee will publish early next year a fresh report on non CO2 climate impacts. Then it will be necessary to follow through with further research including into ways to mitigate. The non-CO2 impacts issue is much more important in the northern hemisphere than the southern as there is where most land, and most flights, are. Europe is well placed to begin assessing what measures could potentially be implemented, such as operational re-routeing (altered flight levels) action on NOx, particulates and black carbon. The meeting reached a provisional agreement on a regulation to extend existing ETS provisions covering aviation beyond 2016 and to prepare for the implementation of CORSIA from 2021.
MEPs place limits on aviation ETS exemption and put airlines on intra-EU flights CO2 reduction path
MEPs have voted to limit the exemption from the EU ETS of flights to and from Europe until 2021, pending further information regarding ICAO’s offsetting measure ‘CORSIA’ (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation). It would be much more effective, in limiting aviation CO2 emissions by flights using European airports to have them all included. However, only flights between EU airports are now included in the ETS. But sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes this vote saying an indefinite exemption of flights to and from Europe would have been a blank cheque to ICAO. It would have been reckless, as it is not yet known how the CORSIA scheme will operate or how effective it will be. There is still no clarity on CORSIA rules on offset quality and enforcement, for future aviation carbon emissions. “Europe now has a leverage to make aviation contribute to our collective climate efforts as proportionally as other sectors of the EU economy should the global measure fail.” For intra-EU flights, MEPs have also voted to start reducing the cap in CO2 allowances from 2021, thus bringing aviation into line with other sectors covered by the EU ETS scheme. This is an important shift in the EU’s approach to aviation’s climate impact. They are also to look at aviation’s non-CO2 impacts, so far ignored.