The European Parliament today voted in favour of freezing the implementation of the EU emissions trading scheme for non-intra EU flights (1). The Greens regretted the measure, which will undermine the only means available to address growing aviation emissions, whilst doing little to guarantee better chances of international action. After the vote, Green climate change spokesperson Satu Hassi (MEP, Finland) stated:
"Freezing the inclusion of non-intra EU flights in the EU's emissions trading scheme is a retrograde move, which will let the aviation sector off the hook for its growing emissions and do precious little to improve chances of international action. The only way the Commission's plans could have been justified would be if they had included some leverage to make progress on measures to tackle the issue at international level but the proposals voted today will fail to do so.
"The proposals would mean flights accounting for a large proportion of the emissions from international aviation will be excluded from the scheme at this fledgling stage. This is in spite of the growing emissions from the sector, which are undermining climate change fighting efforts of other sectors, and the lack of any alternative for tackling aviation emissions
"The ostensible excuse for the proposal is to give the international aviation organisation (ICAO) time to come up with global agreement on how to deal with the climate impact of emissions from aviation but, based on latest news from the discussions, the prospects for this are not likely. EU member states are also partly to blame for the lack of international progress, as they refuse to allow revenues from a global scheme to be channelled towards climate aid to developing countries, despite financing commitments made in the context of climate negotiations. The failure by the EU to reverse its position on this means today's measures bring nothing to the table."
(1) The inclusion of airlines in the EU's emissions trading scheme was supposed to come into effect in 2012 but, under pressure from a number of third countries, the Commission has proposed freezing the enforcement of the ETS to non-intra EU flights for 2012.