European Parliament rapporteur backs 'stop the clock' EU ETS proposal but calls for clarity on EU stance
Dr Peter Liese, European Parliament rapporteur on 'stop the clock' proposal
Mon 14 Jan 2013 – The rapporteur of the European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) for the European Commission’s EU ETS ‘stop the clock’ proposal has broadly supported the move to temporarily amend the scope of the scheme to facilitate ICAO’s work on global emissions. German MEP Dr Peter Liese was the Parliament’s rapporteur and an influential political figure in aviation’s original inclusion into the EU ETS. In a draft report published last week, he also urged the EU to adopt an unambiguous stance on the length of the suspension and on its expectations of ICAO’s progress towards an agreement on a global market-based measure (MBM) that addresses CO2 emissions from international aviation. He also proposed a tightening up of wording on allowances in the legislative proposal to avoid possible administrative confusion by member states and aircraft operators.
“The European Parliament has always supported an international agreement to cover the emissions of aviation,” said Liese.
ICAO had not so far succeeded in reaching the goal, he said, but the ICAO Council meeting in November had made substantial progress. “There is reason to believe that the question will be successfully addressed in the Assembly in September 2013,” he believed. “That is why we should do everything we can to make a global solution possible.”
However, Liese also made clear that he believed the onus was now on the non-EU countries who opposed international aviation’s inclusion into the EU ETS to deliver substantial progress through ICAO.
“Unfortunately, those third countries opposing the EU ETS have only been united in what they do not want (the European legislation). They now have the opportunity and the responsibility to explain what they actually want. It is clear that Europe does not stand in their way,” he said.
His amendments to the Commission’s ‘stop the clock’ proposal include two new paragraphs that seek to clarify the terms of the temporary suspension of parts of the EU ETS directive. One outlines that the legislation is to be passed in the expectation of an agreement at ICAO on a global MBM. The second makes clear that the derogation (a provision in an EU legislative measure which allows for all or part of the legal measure to be applied differently, or not at all, to individuals, groups or organisations) will only apply for one year, and that further legislation would be needed to extend it should sufficient progress be made at ICAO’s 38th Assembly in September/October. These proposed additions appear to reflect sentiments expressed by EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard (see article) and reinforce the EU’s stance by enshrining it in the legislation.
“The most important thing is that we make unambiguously clear that the situation where only internal European flights are covered by our legislation will not continue for more than one year,” said Liese. “If ICAO does not find a solution, the legislation will be implemented as foreseen from the 1st of January 2014.” With two-thirds of EU aviation CO2 emissions caused by intercontinental flights, he said this was necessary for the environmental integrity of the scheme and also to avoid competitive distortion.
Liese’s expectations in his report also include an ICAO framework for the application of regional and national measures “providing comprehensive coverage of international aviation emissions” until a global MBM comes into force, which the EU believes may not happen until at least 2016 (see article).
“A global agreement that satisfactorily covers airlines’ emissions will not be in place by the end of 2013. That is why in the meantime we need a framework for regional and national schemes,” he explained.
A final version of the Commission’s proposal is due to be discussed by the Parliament and the Council, the bodies whose approval is needed before the derogation suspending the parts of the ETS referring to extra-EU flights is passed into law. Liese’s draft report is due to be considered by ENVI on January 23, with a vote by members of both the environment and transport committees following in the second half of February.
The Commission had originally hoped for a swift decision before March, but it now appears that the legislation will not be voted on by a full plenary of the Parliament before the middle of April. Airlines currently covered by the EU ETS are due to surrender allowances for their 2012 emissions by April 30 and Liese says that for legal clarity the legislative procedure should be concluded by that date.
A spokesman for the European Commission welcomed the support of Dr Liese for the proposal, adding that a political decision on a market-based system to address growing aviation emissions effectively was expected from the ICAO Assembly. “Otherwise, we will go back to enforcement of our legislation,” he told GreenAir.
Sonja van Renssen interviews Peter Liese for viEUws.eu on the European Commission’s ‘stop the clock’ proposal. Liese lays the blame largely on the United States for the lack of progress up till now on an international agreement at ICAO to reduce aviation emissions.