EU studies ways to add aviation to emissions scheme

The chances of adding aviation to the European emissions scheme looked a little closer this week after Peter Vis, acting head of the industrial emissions unit at the European Commission, admitted a study into the inclusion had already begun.

Speaking at a conference on Monday, Mr Vis said that including aircraft pollution would be difficult as the impact of emissions such as carbon dioxide, water vapour and nitrous oxides at high altitudes was still the subject of discussion among scientists.

“A tonne of CO2 emitted at high altitudes could be three or four times as damaging as that at ground level,” he said.

Currently the trading scheme covers 12,000 industrial sites in the EU but does not include emissions from transport or households.

Tony Blair said in September that he would use the UK presidency of the EU next year to push for aviation to be included in the trading scheme, and that by 2030 aircraft emissions could be responsible for over 25% of Britain’s total climate change emissions.

Mr Vis said that including aviation from internal EU flights would cover 80% of the total amount of emissions from aviation within Europe, the rest being from international flights.

The EU has committed itself to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 8% compared to 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. The European Commission this week announced it was holding a stakeholder conference on the approach it would take post-2012, and the way countries should work together to fight climate change.

By David Hopkins

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