EU COUNCIL AND AIRLINE EMISSIONS
The EU Council on October 24 adopted the European Commission directive to include aviation in the EU emissions trading system.
The decision was made "without discussion" at the Council meeting of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers, according to a statement. The EU's 27 member states now are required to transpose the new directive into national law within 12 months.
IATA instantly blasted the decision. "Crisis is not the time for rubber stamps, but that is exactly what the Council. . .used today--without a word of debate-- to seal into law the €3.5 billion ($4.49 billion) cost of bringing airlines into the European ETS. It's Brussels acting in a bubble, even in the middle of a global economic crisis," DG and CEO Giovanni Bisignani said.
All flights arriving at or departing from an EU airport will be included in the ETS from Jan. 1, 2012, although operators with very low traffic levels will be excluded from the scheme in order to avoid "disproportionate" administrative costs. The directive also provides for the possibility, "as a last resort," of a ban at Community level on an operator that persistently fails to comply with requirements.
In 2012, aviation sector emissions will be capped at 97% of annual average in the years 2004-06. From 2013 onward, the annual cap will be reduced to 95%. Eighty-five percent of allowances will be allocated free based on a simple benchmark. The remaining 15% will be auctioned.
The Council introduced a new element in the directive, "a special reserve for new entrants or fast-growing aircraft operators (i.e., those that can demonstrate a growth rate of more than 18% annually)." About 3% of overall allowances will be set aside for such operators. However, in order to avoid market distortions, the special permit distribution is a one-off and must not be greater than the annual allocation per tonne-km. to aircraft operators under the main allocation.
Each member state will determine how to use revenue from allowance auctions, although the Council said funds "should" be used to tackle climate change and research in the field of low-emissions transport, particularly in aeronautics and aviation.
[Source: Air Transport World]
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