UK defers tackling CO2 from international transport
The government will not decide whether to include emissions from international aviation and shipping in future carbon budgets until at least 2016, reveals energy secretary
In a statement published today (19 December 2012), Ed Davey confirms that the government is delaying making a decision on including international transport emissions in carbon targets while negotiations are ongoing to create a global approach to cutting aviation emissions.
“Given the uncertainty of what is happening at the EU and global level in managing aviation emissions, we think it sensible to defer our decision on the inclusion of aviation and shipping emissions in the UK’s carbon budgets,” he said.
Currently, emissions from international aviation and shipping are not included in the UK’s legally-binding target to cut carbon emissions by 80% on 2005 levels by 2050 nor in the four agreed carbon budgets up to 2027.
However, a report earlier this year from the committee on climate change advised ministers to include international transport emissions in future carbon budgets.
Under the Climate Change Act 2008, the government had until the end of 2012 to introduce new legislation making that change or publish a parliamentary report explaining why it had not done so.
In its report, DECC cites the European Commission’s decision in November to suspend the inclusion of international flights from the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) as the key reason behind the delay.
“Due to the degree of uncertainty over the future shape of international agreements affecting international aviation, in particular aviation’s treatment within the EU ETS, we are deferring a firm decision,” states the report.
“We are also deferring a decision on the inclusion of international shipping, as … we would prefer to maintain a consistent approach to both international sectors.”
The government will reconsider whether to include emissions from international transport when it sets the fifth carbon budget in 2016.
The postponement is the latest in a series of environmental policy delays including a decision on whether to set a decarbonisation target for the electricity generation sector and a whole-scale review of the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency scheme, both of which have been put off until 2016, after the next general election.
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