Airlines would remain exempt from paying for CO2 emissions from intercontinental flights until 2020 under plans backed by MEPs on Wednesday.
MEPs voted to prolong the intercontinental exemption from EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) rules until December 2020, pending the introduction of a worldwide scheme to offset CO2 emissions from air transport.
However, from 2021 onwards, the aviation sector should receive only half of its EU ETS allowances for free, say MEPs, as against 85% today.
Parliament also wants EU member states to earmark revenue from the auctioning of emission allowances for climate change policies.
The European Commission will have to report on the setting up of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s global scheme (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation – CORSIA) and if necessary, propose to amend, delete or extend the intercontinental flight exemption.
“It is sensible that we extend the exemption for international flights to and from the EU until there is greater clarity on the ICAO scheme. However, unlike the European Commission, I believe this exemption must be time limited so that we can be sure that the CORSIA will deliver its objective”, said lead MEP Julie Girling (ECR, UK).
“Aviation contributes 1.3% of global CO2 emissions and that will increase significantly over the coming decades unless effective action is taken. The EU is already leading the way on tackling this issue and we must not let the pace slacken. As the rapporteur for EU ETS phase IV, I am well aware of the need for the aviation sector to do its fair share for emissions reduction” she added.
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