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Aviation emissions: EU revises Emission Trading System

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Aviation emissions: EU revises Emission Trading System

Photo © Oleg Ivanov - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - Following an agreement by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) the EU is to amend its Emissions Trading System to tackle CO2 emissions from planes.

The European Commission says its deal falls into line with a 2016 ICAO Assembly deal on a global market-based measure to stabilise international aviation emissions. This system will require airlines to monitor and report their annual CO2 emissions on international routes and offset those exceeding 2020 levels.

It says that following this global deal, a revision of the EU Emissions Trading System is now needed to maintain the contribution of the aviation sector to the European climate objectives and for the smooth implementation of the ICAO Global Market-Based Measure.

The Commission proposes to continue with the current geographic scope of the EU Emissions Trading System for aviation, covering flights between airports in the European Economic Area. This, it says, will ensure a level playing field and equal treatment of all airlines flying in Europe.

"With this proposal we are making sure that the aviation sector also contributes to our climate objectives", says Climate Action Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete: "Now, we call on countries around the world to participate in the global scheme from the beginning and help us finalise and implement sound environmental criteria to deliver real emissions reductions in the aviation sector."

The Commission proposal to revise the EU Emission Trading System will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council, which are expected to finalise the co-decision process by the end of the year.

Between 2013 and 2016, commercial airlines covered by the EU Emissions Trading System contributed to more than 65 million tonnes of CO2 emission reductions. These reductions have taken place either within the sector or in other sectors of the economy. The levels of compliance are above 99.5% of covered emissions.

The detailed rules of the Global Market-Based Measure will be prepared in 2017 and endorsed by ICAO in the course of 2018. The Commission is contributing to this process, and will provide technical assistance where needed. Even if the scheme only starts from 2021, emissions data should be collected from 2019.

Once there is greater clarity on the implementation of the Global Market-Based Measure, the Commission says it intends to present a further assessment of the EU Emission Trading System and, as appropriate, make the necessary proposals to make the scheme operational. This will also take due account of the EU's commitment to reduce domestic economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

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