MEPs criticise "weak decision" on emissions trading taken by European environment ministers and pledge further modifications
Fri 21 Dec 2007 – The amendments by the EU’s Council of Environment Ministers on December 20 over the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme have come in for heavy criticism from Members of the European Parliament, whose earlier proposals were subsequently watered down by the Council.
“I am happy that the Council has agreed on something and that the worst proposals by the Portuguese Presidency have not been adopted. But the result is insufficient. The European Parliament as co-legislator will not accept that this weak decision comes into force unchanged,” said Peter Liese, MEP and rapporteur on the inclusion of aviation in the ETS.
“It is regrettable that the Council wants to start so late with emissions trading in aviation. At this point, the Commission proposal has even been worsened. It is a positive move that the completely unacceptable proposal by the Portuguese Presidency to first include only intra-EU flights in the scheme has not been adopted. This would not have made sense from an environmental point of view as well as from the perspective of competition policy.
“It is a pity that the same Environment Ministers who have never tired of underlining the urgency of action on fighting climate change are now postponing an important decision, albeit only for a year.
“It is also regrettable that there is no clear earmarking for the revenues generated by the ETS. The European Parliament had proposed to use these revenues for the fight against climate change, such as through research on clean aircraft and through the reduction of taxes and charges for environmentally-friendly modes of transport such as bus and rail.
“The Ministers’ proposal for auctioning is insufficient too. We need a much higher share of auctioning, since free auctioning has not proven itself.”
The agreement by Ministers will formally be adopted as a ‘common position’ some time in 2008 before returning to the European Parliament for a second reading during the latter half of the year.