EU to hold off airline carbon emissions rules until 2013
BY Wire Reports
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
11/14/12 at 2:54 AM
Airlines are free from emissions-trading obligations on flights into and out of the European Union this year, but compliance requirements for all flights in 2013 remain unchanged, the EU said Tuesday.
The European Commission on Monday proposed freezing the imposition of carbon emission charges on non-EU flights for a year, a move that could prevent an international airline dispute from turning into a global trade war.
The EU's European Trading System requires airlines that fly to and from Europe to buy special permits for all the polluting carbon they emit en route. The charges took effect Jan. 1, but airlines were not going to be required to pay until next year.
EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that to "create a positive atmosphere" for the next year around global negotiations to fight greenhouse gases, she wants to "stop the clock" on the charges the EU was imposing on the foreign flights. International airline organizations cautiously welcomed the initiative.
China, the United States, Russia and India opposed the charges, and the EU plans had come to cloud international trade relations. Around 30 governments that oppose the charges issued a joint declaration in February that cited possible retaliatory steps such as imposing charges on European airlines.
The EU proposal came after a weekend meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization, where progress in talks had been reported.
Hedegaard said, however, that the charges on airlines could be immediately reimposed in case the negotiations stalled after a year.
"If this exercise does not deliver, and I hope it does, then needless to say we are back to where we are today," Hedegaard said.
The 27-nation EU decided in 2008 that flights to and from European airports should be included within the bloc's emissions trading system, the world's largest, starting in 2012 after airline emissions in the region doubled over two decades.
The compliance freeze does not apply to flights within Europe, whose operators will have to submit permits matching 2012 discharges from such flights by the end of April.
The European Trading System is the cornerstone of the region's plan to cut greenhouse gases that scientists blame for global warming. It imposes pollution limits on more than 11,000 manufacturers and power companies, leading to a cap in 2020 that will be 21 percent below 2005 discharges. Emitters have to submit one emission permit for every metric ton of CO2 they discharge or pay a fine of 100 euros per ton.
Original Print Headline: EU to hold off airline carbon rules until 2013
A plane lands at London City airport with Canary Wharf in the background. EU's European Trading System is backing off the imposition of carbon emission charges on non-EU flights for a year. CHRIS RATCLIFFE / Bloomberg file