Major airlines fail to verify carbon emissions in first year
Aviation made up about 3% of preliminary reported carbon emissions for 2012, according to EU data, but the share from the sector could be higher when the final figures are published next month, experts say.
Airlines reporting their 2012 emissions to the EU emissions trading system (ETS) verified a total of about 55m tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e), the preliminary EU data show. Overall, a total of 1.786bn tCO2e were reported by operators across industries for 2012 (see EDCM 2 April 2013).
Jan Frommeyer of German Tschach Solutions said of Tuesday's preliminary figure: "[The number of reported verified emissions] will, however, increase if all companies reported - extrapolation yields a final 2012 aviation emissions estimate of 74.3m tCO2e - but this might be revised once more data become available."
Overall, the EU listed 742 airlines in its provisional data, but only 506 verified their emissions, while even fewer, 440, received freely allocated allowances from the EU.
"With AirFrance, Air Berlin and SAS, three major airlines failed to report emissions," Frommeyer said. "In total, only 68% of the listed airlines reported emissions for 2012."
Under EU ETS rules, airlines are supposed to receive free allowances for 2012 amounting to 85% of their baseline carbon emissions.
The 440 airlines that received free allowances were allocated 162m tCO2e, according to the data, which suggest they have to cover up to 70% of their 2012 emissions by going to the market.
Under the stop-the-clock suspension of international airlines from the ETS for 2012, a large number of operators will also have to return their free allocations to the EU.
Airlines have until 30 April to surrender credits. Missing that deadline would swell their compliance costs, as they face a €100/tCO2e fine if they do so. That is significantly above the cost of the EUA 2012 benchmark price, which has averaged only €7.55/tCO2e during the past year.
Airline operators must open a carbon registry account in the country in which they are mainly active. But the provisional data show operators verifying emissions in 22 of the 27 EU member states and in three EEA-EFTA states covered by the ETS - with no verifications for Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland and Portugal.
Polskie Linie Lotnicze (LOT), Poland's national airline, could not be reached by the time of going to press to comment on why it and other Polish airlines had failed to report their 2012 emissions to the Commission.
Emissions by member state
The UK topped the list for most emissions verified, with a total of 235 airlines reporting 15.8m tCO2e. The country is home to several large international airports, most notably London's Heathrow - Europe's third-busiest when measured by landings and take-offs. In 2011, the airport recorded almost half a million landings and take-offs, a daily average of 1,305 flights.
UK airlines' emissions were followed by Germany's (60 airlines reporting 10.8m tCO2e), Ireland's (32 airlines reporting 9.3m tCO2e) and Spain's (26 airlines reporting 4.4m tCO2e). Marie-Louise du Bois
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