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European Aviation joined the EU ETS in January 2012.

News:    For some of the very many news stories relating to this see EU ETS News Stories

Different options on how the ETS might work

Briefing from T&E (Transport & Environment) – only 5 pages – that shows the options facing the EU. Most of these options have now been disregarded (early September 2013 – link) as the EU has signalled, regardless of the outcome internationally, that they will propose to restrict the EU ETS to airspace. This briefing shows, through some great graphics, how small the amount of emissions that will be captured are.

The key illustration, showing the emissions that would be captured in the Regional Airspace option, which seems to be the one the EU is intending to continue with.

ETS regional airspace option

T&E Briefing: Aviation ETS: A  meaningful future?


ICAO and Aviation Emissions: The clock is ticking

One page summary of the history of what ICAO has done, and not done, over recent years on getting to grips with aviation carbon emissions. From T&E (Transport & Environment) February 2013

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

November 12, 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 adequate 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. China and India have far more to lose than us if they start a trade war, because they export far more to us than we export there. Nonetheless, the EU and UK have meekly conceded to blackmail from China instead of doing the right thing. We understand that David Cameron was lobbying the EU to defer ETS. It demonstrates, yet again, the UK and EU leaders prefer to sacrifice action on climate change in favour of narrow business interests. 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, and there is no expectation that ICAO will come up with anything worthwhile in the next year.but on the positive side, the EC can no longer be accused of not doing anything in response to voluble continuing criticism over its approach to aviation and climate change.     Click here to view full story…



Why the ETS will not solve the aviation industry’s problem of carbon emissions

 Three good explanations at:

Why Tim Yeo is wrong about carbon emissions from UK aviation being controlled by the ETS  (Carbon Briefing)  and

Environmental case for Heathrow expansion is as weak as ever. Why Tim Yeo is wrong on aviation and the EU ETS (BusinessGreen) and

There is also a good explanation from AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) of  how the ETS works for aviation, at



The daily price of EU carbon allowances can be seen on the chart on the Point Carbon website at



Outline of how aviation is included in the ETS

Under the ETS, airline emissions will be capped at 97% of their average 2004-2006 levels in 2012 and at 95% from 2013. Airlines will receive 85% of their emissions allowance for free in 2012 and will have to buy, at auction, the other 15%. This reduces to 82% for 2013-2020. Another 15% of allowances will be auctioned each year. From 2013, the remaining 3% of allowances will be allocated to a special reserve for distribution to fast growing airlines (such as those from emerging economies) and new entrants to the market. Allowances can be bought and sold across the EU. Airlines can buy credits from other industries but can only sell to other airlines.

Many non-EU airlines have complained about aviation’s entry into the EU ETS.  US airlines filed a lawsuit disputing the inclusion of US airlines in ETS, on the basis that it violated well established principles of customary international law by applying to aviation in third countries’ airspace and over the high seas, the Chicago Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, the EU-US Open Skies Agreement, and that such extra-jurisdictional matters should be regulated by ICAO.

On 21 December 2011, the European Court of Justice upheld the Advocate-General Opinion that inclusion of aviation in the ETS is valid as it doesn’t infringe existing international agreements or sovereign rights.

The US House of Representatives has adopted a bill (HR 2594 – the EU ETS Prohibition Act of 2011) prohibiting US airlines from complying with EU legislation on the ETS, which is making its way through the US legislation process.

Other countries including China, India and Russia are also opposing the scheme with protests and threats of retaliation.

The formal allocation of free allowances to each operator is carried out by their assigned EU member state, to determine individual allocations and these were transferred to operators’ accounts by 28 February 2012. Operators will be required to hand over sufficient free and purchased allowances to cover their reported 2012 CO2 emissions by April 2013.

Across the 249 operators, a total of 56,095,037 free allowances have been provisionally allocated for 2012, dropping to 53,000,200 for the 2013-2020 period.

There is plenty of information on aviation in the ETS on the European Commission website at


Policy Brief by the American organisations, “Climate Advisors” and the German Marshall Fund of the United States, on the EU ETS from an American perspective, and why the USA should work with the EU to come up with a workable solution.

“Air Supremacy:  The Surprisingly Important Dogfight over Climate Pollution from nternational Aviation”

by Nigel Purvis and Samuel Grausz  (October 2012)

It concludes:  “The United States and Europe need to take proactive steps to resolve the dispute. The U.S. president has the authority to negotiate a truce with Europe in ICAO or bilaterally, and to implement a comparable system domestically without further Congressional approval. He should use it. Europe, on the other hand, while insisting on meaningful action, must engage with the United States to work out an agreement in ICAO or bilaterally that can be implemented under the existing EU law. A full-fledged legal case in ICAO or the WTO would be risky for the transatlantic allies and for the world as a whole. Both sides could lose and, even more importantly, the outcome could jeopardize the global trade system and the global climate.”

There is a GreenAir online article about the Policy Brief at  dated 7.11.2012



There is a good explanation from AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) of why Tim Yeo is wrong, and how the ETS is not likely to be able to control CO2 emissions caused by future expansion of UK aviation, at  



Why Tim Yeo is wrong about carbon emissions from UK aviation being controlled by the ETS  (Carbon Briefing)

August 30, 2012     This piece from the Carbon Brief sets out how the carbon emissions from UK aviation are dealt with by the ETS, and why Tim Yeo (and others promoting huge expansion of UK air travel, beyond the limit recommended by the Committee on Climate Change), have got it wrong. Besides the apparent misunderstanding about the failings of the ETS, Yeo also suggested that that if the UK were to increase its airport capacity, carriers would be more likely to send their newer, more efficient planes to Heathrow. Carbon Brief explains that this would not happen as there doesn’t seem to be any reason why airlines would send their newest planes to the UK over other EU destinations. If the ETS works as it is meant to, the price of carbon permits would go up, so the cost of flying would go up. And the UK would have to either cut down on aviation demand (very unlikely) or overstep its emissions cap, as no government would be popular if it tried to ration air travel.   Click here to view full story…



Environmental case for Heathrow expansion is as weak as ever. Why Tim Yeo is wrong on aviation and the EU ETS (BusinessGreen)

August 29, 2012    This is an article from BusinessGreen, with a good and clear explanation of why Tim Yeo is utterly wrong with his pronouncements on aviation and the ETS. You would have thought someone who is Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee should know this. The ETS cannot and will not prevent aviation emissions from rising, because of the current weakness and failures of the ETS, meaning it does not work properly, largely as the carbon price is too low and dubious credits are imported from outside. However, supposing the ETS did work perfectly, it would drive up the cost of flying hugely as permits become scarce and expensive as carbon cuts are harder and harder for other sectors to make. There would then be no need for more runways as demand would fall greatly. So no need for a new Heathrow runway, or a new airport. Unless planes could become virtually zero carbon – of which there is no current prospect.   Click here to view full story…