The EU, Aviation And Climate Change

The EU, Aviation And Climate Change

The emissions problem in aviation has been a problem for some time. Last week, the European Union (EU), announced that it would not allow international aviation to be included in its emissions trading scheme (ETS) until late next year. Since the beginning of 2018, aviation has been included in this report. Non-European airlines fly to and from Europe under the EU scheme.

According to the EU, it will seek help from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN agency responsible for international aviation. The General Assembly of the ICAO will held in September-October 2013. The Kyoto Protocol was adopt in 1997 and ICAO has not yet found a solution to the problem of aviation emissions.

If the ICAO fails to address the emission problem (however successful is define, at its General Assembly the EU ETS legislation will apply again to international aviation starting in 2013.

The US House of Representatives pass legislation that, just a day after the EU’s announcement made, prohibits any US-base aircraft operator from ever taking part in the EU ETS.

In April, the Chinese government barred Chinese airlines from joining EU ETS. These are exciting times for international aviation, climate change regulation, as well as challenging times for ICAO.

Problem With Aviation Emissions

The aviation emissions problem has become a serious concern. The growing emissions from aviation are unregulated. The background of declining emissions or, at the very least, emission regulation from many other industries is causing aviation’s emissions to increase.

According to IPCC calculations, the contribution of aviation to total emissions could be as low or high as 2%. ICAO predicts further growth in emissions: compared to a 2006 baseline, a 63% to 88% increase by 2020 and a 290% to 667% increase by 2050 (without taking into account the impact of alternative fuels).

International Civil Organisation

The EU’s announcement defuse tensions with the US (despite this week’s passage legislation) and with major emerging states like China and India. They oppose to the EU legislation, and would not have agree to it

Three factors are the basis of the EU’s announcement:

  • The ICAO Council has established a high-level policy group to address the issue of emissions.
  • Three to one must be the limit of market-based mechanisms.
  • The Council explicitly mentioned a global market-based mechanism for addressing the problem of aviation emissions.

These are not the things that would make a global aviations emissions deal. Moreover, the ICAO’s failure to address international aviation emissions problems to date is not a good sign for any future solutions.

Rules For Aviation And Trade

This is in some ways a bit curious. The main piece of legislation, Directive 08/101/EC regarding the inclusion of aviation into the EU’s ETS requires that all flights (EU or non-EU) landing at, or taking off from, any airport in an EU member state must submit emissions allowances equaling the total amount of the flight.

The majority of these allowances, 85%, are free to airlines. Passengers will pay the remaining compliance costs. Many will not have other options to travel to the EU than to fly.

Two US authors noted that the issue at the core of the EU decision. Last Wednesday is a matter of some importance. It concerns whether nations may adopt climate-change laws that impact foreign companies offering goods and services on their territory.

Or, in other words, can aviation and trade rules seriously undermine. Efforts for prevention of the catastrophic consequences of unmanageable global warming?

The Climate Change Problem And Aviation

Microcosm of the difficulties in addressing global climate change is the difficulty in addressing aviations emissions. These kinds of problems are not address by the world. While climate change is a global issue, there is no global government. Instead, there are sovereign countries whose interests and concerns are very different. As is the case with the aviations emissions issue.