The European Commission has today (3 Feb) announced it will extend indefinitely the “stop the clock” measure under which international aviation remains exempt from the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had set a deadline of the end of 2016 to reach its own deal for curbing emissions before international flights would become subject to ETS. The Commission also announced that, from 2021, intra-EU flights will face gradual reductions in the free allowances they receive under ETS.
Commenting on the Commission’s proposal, Green environment spokesperson Bas Eickhout said:
"The Commission has once again let international aviation off the hook. Not only have they failed to act on their promise to bring international flights under the scope of the emissions trading scheme, they have failed to set any hard deadline for doing so. The deal agreed by ICAO last year was weaker than the ETS and many big countries such as China, India and Russia are already threatening to not participate come 2021. Rather than waiting for the rest of the world to catch up, the EU should get on with its original goal of putting a fair price on aviation emissions, and delivering against its climate ambitions.
"On a more positive note, it is good to see the Commission is prepared to be a little more ambitious on flights operating within the EU. Aviation is a huge contributor to Europe’s emissions and should face the same reductions in free allowances that many other highly polluting sectors have already."