Climate Action

The EU tackles growing aviation emissions

Solar Impulse 2 © Solar Impulse
03/02/2017

The Commission is amending the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) making it fit for tackling CO₂ emissions from aviation. This comes following an agreement by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to stabilise international aviation emissions.

The European Union is a leading advocate for addressing fast-growing emissions from aviation. At the 2016 ICAO Assembly, the European Union and its Member States played an instrumental role in securing a deal on a global market-based measure to stabilise international aviation emissions. The system will require airlines to monitor and report their annual CO2 emissions on international routes and offset those exceeding 2020 levels.

Following this deal at global level, a revision of the EU Emissions Trading System is needed to maintain the contribution of the aviation sector to the European climate objectives and for the smooth implementation of the ICAO Global Market-Based Measure. The Commission is proposing to continue with the current geographic scope of the EU Emissions Trading System for aviation, covering flights between airports in the European Economic Area. This will ensure a level playing field and equal treatment of all airlines flying in Europe.

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "With this proposal we are making sure that the aviation sector also contributes to our climate objectives. Now, we call on countries around the world to participate in the global scheme from the beginning and help us finalise and implement sound environmental criteria to deliver real emissions reductions in the aviation sector."

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "Following ICAO's landmark agreement, the European Union is now focused on getting the global scheme up and running. We are serious about achieving carbon neutral growth for aviation, and we will provide technical and financial support to make it happen. Aviation is a global business and no country can be left behind!"

Between 2013 and 2016, airlines covered by the EU ETS contributed to reducing the carbon footprint of the aviation sector by more than 65 million tonnes of CO₂. Airlines have either taken measures within their sector or purchased emission allowances from other sectors. The levels of compliance are above 99.5% of covered emissions.

Today's proposal to revise the EU Emission Trading System will be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council, which are expected to finalise the co-decision process by the end of the year.

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