Responsible MEPs write an open letter to the ICAO

EU ready to compromise, but the European Parliament will have a close look at the process

On Tuesday, September 24, the General Assembly of the International Civil Aviation-Organization will convene in Montreal (Canada). One item on the agenda is the discussion about a text that could pave the way towards an international agreement on the reduction of CO2 emissions in international aviation. The European Union, where all inter-European and intercontinental flights are already covered by law through the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), had been openly threatened with retaliatory measures by a number of third countries. Thus, as a gesture of goodwill, the EU excluded intercontinental flights temporarily from its ETS in the so called "Stop the Clock". Now, the president of the ICAO has succeeded in uniting almost all involved parties behind a compromise text which has to be adopted by the ICAO General Assembly. "The compromise is nonetheless not cut and dried yet and there are still arguments about the exact wording. We need this minimum compromise so our ETS can remain in place," warns Dr Peter Liese (EPP - Christian Democrats), rapporteur of the European Parliament for the inclusion of aviation in the European ETS.


For that reason, Liese joined forces with Matthias Groote, chairman of the Committee for Environment and Mathieu Grosch, responsible for the Committee for Transport's position on Stop the Clock. Together, they wrote an open letter to ICAO President Roberto Kobeh González, in which the EU deputies thanked him for his commitment in the negotiations. However, they also called on him to keep working towards an international agreement. Furthermore, they express their concern about a threshold that was demanded by the USA under which most countries, including industrialized ones, would not be covered by an international, market based measure similar to the European ETS.

"Under these circumstances, we can hardly speak of an international solution. It is clear that we need exceptions for the least-developed countries. However, the ICAO text is particularly controversial on this point. We have always explained that the European Parliament is willing to compromise and would adjust the ETS regulation in case the ICAO delivers acceptable results. Nonetheless, we cannot accept to have just anything. We need a workable solution for the time until an international agreement is put into place. That is what we are working on right now and we at the Parliament will have a very close look at the process", Liese concluded.