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Climate Action

Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The EU is taking action to reduce aviation emissions in Europe and working with the international community to develop measures with global reach.

CO2 emissions from aviation have been included in theEU emissions trading system (EU ETS) since 2012. Under the EU ETS, all airlines operating in Europe, European and non-European alike, are required to monitor, report and verify their emissions, and to surrender allowances against those emissions. They receive tradeable allowances covering a certain level of emissions from their flights per year.

The European Commission is now proposing to revise the ETS aviation rules, as part of the Fit for 55 legislative package, to help ensure that the sector contributes to the more ambitious target of achieving net emission reductions of at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

Objectives

  • Contribute to the European Green Deal objective of reducing transport emissions by 90% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels
  • Implement the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) under the International Civil Aviation Organization
  • Ensure that airlines operating flights on the same routes are treated equally, regardless of nationality, by maintaining a routes-based approach

Key elements

The Commission proposes that flights within the European Economic Area (EEA) continue to be covered by the EU ETS, as well as flights to Switzerland and the UK.

Aside from those constituting public service obligations, flights between the EU’s outermost regions (OMRs) will be included in the EU ETS.

International flights between OMRs and EEA countries will also be included. The total number of aviation allowances in the ETS will be capped at current levels, and be reduced annually under the ETS linear reduction factor.

The number of free allowances allocated to aircraft operators will also be reduced progressively to reach full auctioning by 2027.

In parallel, the Commission proposal will appropriately implement the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) under the International Civil Aviation Organization for extra-European flights.

Under the proposal, the Commission will apply CORSIA to flights that are outside the EU ETS and depart or arrive in countries which apply CORSIA. Emissions from these flights will be offset once collective international emissions exceed 2019 levels. The eligible offset units need to originate from countries that participate in the Paris Agreement and in CORSIA. Offsets must be reliably accounted for to avoid them being counted twice.

To avoid market distortions, the Commission will maintain the route-based approach, ensuring that airlines operating flights on the same routes are treated equally, regardless of nationality.

In addition, the Commission proposes to implement Member States’ CORSIA notification to EU-based airlines of the offsetting for their 2021 emissions.

Stakeholder input

In October 2020, the Commission launched a public consultation inviting stakeholders and citizens to submit their views on the revision of the ETS aviation rules.

The 81 stakeholder contributions were summarised and informed the development of the proposals.

For more information on the stakeholder process, visit the Better Regulation portal.

Next steps

The legislative proposals will be transmitted to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions for further consideration under the ordinary legislative procedure.

Documents