Environment campaigners claim agreement by EU ministers on aviation will fail to curb emissions and could derail international climate targets
Fri 21 Dec 2007 – The European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E), the principal environmental organization campaigning on transport at EU level, has called the decisions taken by EU environment ministers on aviation’s inclusion in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) “shameful” and accuses the EU of being “two-faced” in its approach to the industry.
“If environment ministers get their way, the scheme simply won’t cut emissions and will end up being yet another subsidy to the aviation industry,” said João Vieira of T&E. “It’s a shameful end to a year filled with promise for action on climate change.”
According to T&E’s calculations based on the official impact assessment, the European Commission plan as it stands would offset just one year’s growth in emissions from aviation. T&E criticized the vote by ministers not to strengthen the proposed emissions cap and to allow the aviation sector unlimited rights to buy credits from other sectors. It called the decision to give airlines free emission permits “a recipe for massive windfall profits”.
According to Tomas Wyns, EU ETS expert for Climate Action Network Europe (CAN-E), the EU was failing to implement ambitious greenhouse gas mitigation policies that would threaten the trust built up in Bali towards the developing world and risk a delay or stall in the forthcoming international climate change negotiations.
T&E accused the EU of a “two-faced approach” to aviation and climate change, citing the recent publication of a Top Ten of European achievements in 2007 that included leadership in both “the fight against global warming” and “cheaper airfares to the USA through an ‘open skies’ agreement”.
“With no fuel taxes, no VAT on tickets and massive subsidies to airports, aircraft manufacturers and airlines, the aviation sector is already one of the most favoured. That the EU celebrates when it makes the most polluting form of transport in the world even cheaper is incomprehensible,” said T&E’s Vieira.