Airspace approach fair compromise / Equal treatment for all industries demanded

The rapporteur of the European Parliament for the inclusion of aviation in the European Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) Peter Liese (EPP) supports the European Commission in this highly controversial issue.

The Commission came forward with its proposal in reaction to the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) General Assembly in October, which agreed to establish a global market-based system (MBM) for the reduction of international aviation emissions until 2020. The details of this MBM should be developed until the next ICAO Assembly in 2016. It is not sure if ICAO will finally suceed and what the system will look like.


Liese, who is steering the law through Parliament supports the Commission proposal in its core elements: "This approach is much better than the current Stop the Clock solution because not only inter-European flights are included, but also flights to non-European countries, even if only for the part of the trip in European airspace. However, this is an important point. A flight from Paris or London to the new hub in Istanbul would be almost completely included. Under Stop the Clock, it is not included at all. The same is true for flights to the hubs in the Emirates, which are not included under Stop the Clock but at least partly covered by the Commission proposal".

Liese insisted that flights from and to third countries cannot be completely excluded from the scheme. "Just stopping the clock until 2016 is not an option for me and many other colleagues in Parliament. The inclusion of all flights taking off and landing in Europe for the part that they travel in European airspace is indispensable. This is a matter of fairness against European airlines and their competitive situation and the environment", Liese explained.
While backing the European Commission in the core point he introduces some amendments to further strengthen the proposal. "The Commission foresees any further amendment of the directive only in 2020. I think, however, that we need to act after the next ICAO Assembly in 2016 because it is not at all guaranteed that ICAO will in fact solve the problem. The deal from October in Montreal is not more precise and ambitious than the deal recently done at the UNFCCC COP in Warsaw. We need to be prepared to fully implement our scheme after 2016 in case there is no global agreement. This would mean that we cover also intercontinental flights by our scheme. If there in 2016 there is a substantial agreement we need to reconsider the situation", said Liese.

He also proposes amendments to at least partly keep the environmental integrity and to provide for equal treatment of all industries. The level of auctioning in the aviation ETS is only 15 per cent compared to an average of 40 per cent for the rest of industry. The CAP is only 5 per cent while other parts of industry have to reduce their emissions by 21 per cent by 2020. "This has always been subject to criticism and the European Parliament already in 2007 and 2008 during the legislative progress asked for equal treatment of all industries. The airspace approach reduces the emission covered by the ETS to 40 per cent compared to the original scheme. To limit the damage for the environment it is justified to increase the auctioning and to reduce the CAP. At least to the level other industries have to comply already since the beginning of 2013", Liese explained.

Liese is looking forward to a quick legislative process, also with the Council. "If we don't want to implement the full legislation, including for third countries until the final destination, we need to amend the legislation quickly. That it is why we agreed on an ambitious timetable, also with the Transport Committee. The vote in the Environment Committee will be on 30th January and the final vote in Plenary after trilogue with Council and Commission will be in April to get the legislation in the official journal before the end of the legislative term", Liese concluded.