Agreement at International Aviation Organization (ICAO) is better than nothing but falls short in light of the Paris Agreement

“The EU ETS for aviation must continue in the following years”, said Peter Liese, former rapporteur of the file in the European Parliament ahead of the new Commissions proposal this Friday.

In October last year, the International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO agreed on the principles of the Global Marked Based Mechanisms (CORSIA) to address the CO2 emissions of aviation but Liese said this agreement is not at all satisfactory for the European Parliament: “It is much better than nothing and we should work with the partners on the basis of CORSIA (Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) - but it is far away from what is necessary after the global commitment to address climate change in Paris.

First of all, ICAO didn’t agree on any reduction of the emissions, they only talk about carbon neutral growth.

Second, the quality of the offset mechanisms, which they decided upon, is very unclear. It may even not be beneficiary for the environment because we have seen a lot of unsustainable offset credits and even fraud in this area and, third, the agreement is legally very unsafe. It will be somehow binding only from 2027.

So, the EU ETS must continue at least for flights inside Europe as it is currently the case. Depending on the development at the international level and the participation of third countries to the CORSIA, we also need to consider the inclusion of intercontinental flights again”, said Liese who is also the environmental spokesperson of the biggest group in the EP (EPP Group). He insisted, that a fair contribution of the aviation sector is also necessary to not overburden the rest of the industry: “In two weeks we are going to vote in Strasbourg on the general review of the ETS. My group is strongly fighting for a better protection of energy intensive industries like steel. How can I explain a steel worker, who is afraid of losing his job that his sector will be covered by a reduction target of 43%, while another industry is going away with almost no ambition?”, concluded Liese.
The proposal to be made by the European Commission on Friday will be subject to Co-decision between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. If no agreement is found, all flights that start and land in Europe including intercontinental flights will be covered by the EU ETS and airlines should surrender their allowances for these flights beginning of next year.