European Environment Commissioner calls for swift action on Aviation ETS legislation
Stavros Dimas, European Environment Commissioner
Fri 15 Feb 2008 - Early adoption by the European Council and Parliament of the European Commission’s legislative proposals on climate change can help to ensure the EU meets its Kyoto Protocol targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, announced Stavros Dimas, the European Evironment Commissioner.
“The period during which the EU and other industrialised countries must meet our Kyoto emission targets – the 2008-2012 commitment period – started on 1 January this year,” said Dimas. “The most recent emission projections show we are on the right track, but the early adoption and implementation of proposals put forward by the Commission would help to ensure success.
“I am referring to legislation to reduce CO2 emissions from cars and fuels and the inclusion of aviation in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from 2011. Swift action on last month’s climate action and renewable energy package will also give us an early start towards meeting our ambitious targets for 2020.”
Under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU’s then 15 Member States (EU-15) committed to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions over the 2008-2012 period to an annual average of 8% below levels in the chosen base year, which was 1990 in most cases. The latest data available – for 2005 – indicates that EU-15 GHG emissions were 2% lower than base year levels and the current projection is that by 2010 the reduction may reach 7.4%, just short of the reduction target.
Additional policies and measures under discussion at EU and national levels, such as the inclusion of aviation in the ETS, “will allow the target to be reached and even take the reduction to 11.4% if implemented promptly and fully,” says the Commission.
However, there is a disagreement still to be resolved about the start date for aviation’s inclusion into the ETS, with the Commission and Parliament seeking a 2011 start and the Council opting for 2012.
In March last year, the European Council called for developed countries to reduce their collective emissions to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020, and committed the EU to this target if an international post-Bali agreement was reached by the developed countries. Regardless of an agreement, the Council recently committed the EU to reduce its emissions by at least 20% by 2020.
By 2020, aviation emissions are likely to more than double from present levels if no action is taken, says the Commision. With inclusion in the ETS, it estimates that CO2 savings of as much as 46%, or 183 million tonnes, could be achieved annually by the same year.
The Commission and EU Environment Ministers want to cap aviation emissions at 100% of the 2004-2006 level, or around 90% above the 1990 level, whereas the European Parliament voted last November for a 90% cap of the 2004-2006 level.
Peter Liese, MEP, who is steering the aviation ETS issue through the European Parliament, told GreenAir that he wants to start negotiations with the other European institutions before early April and hopes for an agreement by the summer break in July.