MEPs celebrate aviation deal

MEPs and the EU Council's Presidency have struck a deal on how to include aviation in the EU Emissions Trading System.

Following a series of meetings, the European Parliament announced at the weekend that the two sides had agreed a compromise to include all flights starting or landing in Europe in the ETS from 2012.

Reductions targets will be set using 2004-06 emissions as a baseline, and airlines will have to cut emissions by 3% in 2012 and 5% from 2013 onwards.

The deal will now have to be formally endorsed by the full Council and put to the vote in Parliament on July 9.

It follows months of wrangling between the Council and MEPs over the details of how and when aviation would be included in the ETS (see related story).

Under the deal, 85% of emissions certificates would be allocated for free, and the remaining 15% would be auctioned.

Research flights and small airline companies producing low emissions are excluded, and the EU will have to seek an agreement on global measures to reduce emissions from aviation.

MEP Peter Liese, who helped broker the deal, said: “Of course, a global agreement is our final goal, but the inclusion of third country flights starting and landing in Europe is a major step for the global fight against climate change.”

He added that MEPs had fought to ensure the revenues from auctioned allowances will be used for climate change mitigation and cleaner transport projects and research.

However, campaigners from the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) branded the deal a “missed opportunity”.

João Vieira said: “Environmental campaigners have consistently said that this plan must deliver real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation sector – and this deal fails to achieve that goal.

“The policy will offset just one year’s growth in emissions from the aviation sector, according to the European Commission’s own analysis.”

Last week the European Commission adopted a package of legislation for a Single European Sky which aims to improve safety, cut costs and reduce delays.

Commission chiefs said these changes would result in lower fuel consumption and save airlines up to 16m tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie