11 January 2007

Civil Aviation and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme

On 20 December 2006 the European Commission adopted a proposal for legislation that would include civil aviation in the European Union's emissions trading scheme starting in 2011. The announcement and background information are available here on the European Environment Directorate General's web pages.

There has been a range of reactions to the proposal, including from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the US Air Transport Association (ATA), the Association of European Airlines (AEA), the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) and the European Federation for Transport and Environment. An article in the Guardian reported on some other initial reactions. On 9 January 2007 the New York Times had an article reporting on the US Government position.

A particular issue of interest is disagreement over the legal basis of a move that would include all flights taking off from and landing at European Union (EU) airports.

Following work by the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), global solutions are due to be considered by the ICAO Assembly when it meets in Montreal in September 2007. The web page of ICAO's Environmental Unit has links to some relevant background information.

In announcing the proposal for legislation, the European Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas, is reported by ATW to have said that "If we wait for ICAO to move on emissions trading we will be waiting forever."

Comment from Wolfgang Tiefensee, the Federal Minister of Transport in Germany, the current holder of the EU Presidency, is available here.

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