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EU decides emissions trading system to capture flights within its airspace

16 Oct 2013 18:33:48 | edcm

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The European Commission on Wednesday proposed law changes to capture all CO2 that airlines emit in EU airspace in its emissions trading system (ETS) from 1 January 2014. The move would cut the supply of aviation emissions allowances to be auctioned in 2013-2020.

The proposal follows an agreement from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to decide by 2016 on a market-based mechanism to cut carbon emissions as of 2020 ( see EDCM 7 October 2013 ).

It would set a cap and a price on some of the emissions from these flights. Airline carriers would have to hand in allowances matching the CO2 emitted in 2014-2020 during the EU part of the journey, but not for any emissions outside this airspace.

All emissions from flights in 2013-2020 between EU airports will be included in the trading system.

The deadline to hand in allowances for all types of flights has been delayed to 30 April 2015, giving airlines an extra year to buy or sell credits before they have to hand them into the European Commission.

The usual yearly compliance deadlines will restart in 2016.

The commission will now recalculate the number of free allowances it issues to airlines, curbing supply to account for the smaller total distances that will now be captured. Auction supply will also be cut.


Next steps

The proposal will need legislation – requiring approval from EU states and the European Parliament – to be pushed through before 30 April 2014, the current deadline for airlines.

The commission said in a statement on Wednesday that it hopes to get the legal go-ahead by March 2014.

“I am confident that the European Parliament and the Council will move swiftly and approve this proposal without delay,” said Connie Hedegaard, European commissioner for climate action.

There will be a commission review in 2016 to check that ICAO is meeting the deadline to decide on a market-based mechanism. This could lead to further changes in the EU ETS law.

It extends by a year the commission’s previous “stop the clock proposal,” which exempted flights departing or landing outside the EU from surrendering allowances for any of their 2012 emissions. Ben Lee

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