ETS halted for flights outside EU

13th November 2012

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Transport ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Management ,
  • EU ,
  • Carbon Trading



The inclusion of flights to and from the EU in the emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) has been suspended by the European Commission following progress in negotiations for an international system to tackle aviation emissions

European authorities have agreed to “stop the clock” on the ETS for flights outside the EU for 12 months after a meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) council agreed that a single global market-based mechanism was needed to cap emissions.

The scope of the ETS was expanded from January to include the aviation sector, meaning that airlines have to report the amount of emissions generated by their operations, and surrender the equivalent number of ETS allowances.

Controversially, the system includes flights that originate or land outside the EU, as well as flights within the bloc, leading to protests from airlines based in the US, Russia and China, for example.

According to the EU’s commissioner for climate action, Connie Hedegaard, it was this reaction that has helped to further ICAO negotiations to develop a global system.

"Nobody wants an international framework tackling CO2 emissions from aviation more than we do. Our regulatory scheme was adopted after having waited many years for ICAO to progress. Now it seems that because of some countries’ dislike of our scheme many countries are prepared to move in ICAO,” she said.

Hedegaard hailed the ICAO’s meeting as long-awaited progress and said that to “create a positive atmosphere” for the negotiations she had recommended suspending the ETS until after the ICAO’s assembly in autumn 2013.

“Finally we have a chance to get an international regulation on emissions from aviation. This is a long sought for opportunity that we must use,” she said.

However, Hedegaard also made it clear that the ETS rules would continue to apply to all flights within EU borders, and if the ICAO negotiations fail next year then the scheme would be automatically reinstated.

The commission’s decision was welcomed by the UK’s energy secretary, Ed Davey, who said: “It is right that the ICAO is given more time to make progress on reaching a global deal.”

Hedegaard followed her announcement on the suspension of aviation’s inclusion in the ETS by confirming that the commission proposes to postpone the auction of some 900 milllion allowances during the next phase of the scheme in a bid to tackle the problem of surplus allowances undermining the price of carbon. The commission is due to publish a report on the EU carbon market and its plans on Wednesday (14 November).

However, MEPs have had a mixed response to the concept of “backloading” allowances. "Backloading the release of allowances will only buy time. We need to take account of all the concerns and doubts that have been raised", said Matthias Groote, chair of the European parliament’s committee on the environment, public health and food safety.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

EU and UK citizens fear net-zero delivery deficit

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Taxing the extraction of fossil fuels in the world’s most advanced economies could raise $720bn (£575bn) by 2030 to support vulnerable countries facing climate damages, analysis has found.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close