European Parliament throws out ETS revision proposals to tighten the aviation sector's emission allowances
European Parliament session on the climate change package
Fri 19 Dec 2008 – The European Parliament voted on Wednesday not to adopt proposed amendments by some MEPs that would have reduced the level of the free allocation of emission allowances incrementally from the start of the next phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in 2013. In 2012, when aviation joins the scheme, the sector is to be allocated 85 percent of the allowances for free. Under the proposals, this would have been reduced in 2013 to 80 percent and then decrease each year in equal amounts, resulting in no free allocation in 2020.
The vote was welcomed by the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), which called it “a victory of common sense over environmental extremism”.
ERA Director General Mike Ambrose said: “European air transport does support protection of the environment and is investing accordingly but there is a minority of environmental extremists who wish to see aviation punished at any cost to European jobs, regional communities and international competitiveness.
“While it might make sense to review the Mother Directive for those industries which have been involved in the ETS for some time, aviation does not begin to participate in the scheme until 2012. To propose changes to a law that was only agreed in July this year, that was decided only after extensive debate and which has not yet been enforced, is nonsensical. Thankfully, the majority of Parliament has adopted a more rational approach that still provides environmental protection.”
ERA estimates that the ETS will add €245 million ($340m) to the annual costs of its airline members – which represent 7% of total European airlines – when it comes into effect in 2012. It claims that if the proposals had been adopted, it would have potentially added an extra €555 million ($770m) a year, making a total of €800 million ($1.11bn).
The cost to all airlines affected by the ETS, and having to auction for the required 15% of the total allocated allowances, is estimated to total €5.1 billion ($7bn).
In its deliberation on the EU Climate Change package, which includes a target of 20% share of renewable in the total EU energy mix by 2020, the Parliament adopted a resolution that commits the European Commission to report in 2021 on the development of the use of biofuels in commercial aviation as part of a Renewable Energy Roadmap for the post-2020 period.