Aviation emissions account for about 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions and are one of the fastest growing sources of CO2. The European Union tried to reduce the emissions by including the aviation sector under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). However, only intra-EU flights are included and this leaves a worrisome question mark about both international flights and what will happen with UK in the case of a hard Brexit.

Today the European Parliament voted on a report that extends the so-called 'stop the clock' exemption for international flights but limits it to 2020, pending a Commission review into CORSIA*. It also includes measures to protect the integrity of the EU ETS in case of a hard Brexit.

S&D spokesperson for climate and environment, Miriam Dalli MEP, said:

"The Paris Agreement requires action from all sectors and aviation is no exception.

"Emission reductions and the efforts different EU industries make should be brought into line. Aviation needs to develop in a sustainable way that reduces its environmental footprint and contributes to the global fight against climate change.

"It’s high time for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to prove that it is a proactive international stakeholder that can adopt effective climate measures that can be implemented by the industry which will really make a positive difference. It is only full transparency that can ensure trust and full reliability."

S&D spokesperson on aviation ETS, Seb Dance MEP, said:

"By putting a time limit on the ETS exemption for international flights, Parliament is sending a strong signal to the ICAO. If CORSIA is not up to the job of reducing emissions from international flights, then Parliament is willing to put flights leaving the EU back under the EU ETS.

"The UK has always been a strong advocate of the EU ETS and a rational government would ensure we remain part of the world's biggest carbon market. However, given the chaos of the UK government's handling of the Brexit negotiations, a no-deal Brexit is looking more likely each day."

* Note to the editors

CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) is a carbon offsetting scheme that calls on airlines to buy offset credits for a portion of pollution above 2020 levels to compensate for part of future growth. The scheme will start in 2021 but is not mandatory until 2027. Unlike the ETS, the measure does not promote emission reductions, as its “aspirational goal” is only that of “carbon neutral growth from 2020 levels” allowing unlimited growth in the sector and leaving emissions below 2020 levels completely unaddressed.

  • #Prog4Climate
  • Miriam Dalli MEP
  • Seb Dance MEP
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