Climate change: no free ride for the aviation sector - Peter Liese 

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Today’s Commission proposal on the inclusion of aviation in the EU carbon market is a good basis for negotiations with Parliament, but the sector should contribute as much to emission reductions as other industries do, said on Friday Peter Liese (EPP, DE) the EP rapporteur on previous aviation emissions legislations. Parliament will continue to exert pressure for ambitious climate protection measures in intercontinental flights, he said.

The European Commission published on Friday a proposal to amend the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), in order to extend an exemption allowing airlines not to pay for CO2 emissions from intercontinental flights.

"The proposal is a good basis for deliberations in Parliament, but we will examine it very closely and, in particular, continue to exert pressure for ambitious climate protection measures in intercontinental flights," said M. Liese.

"I welcome the proposition to apply the same linear reduction factor to aviation as for other industries. The previous treatment was unfair to other sectors, like the steel industry, where many people are worried about their jobs. How can you tell a steelworker that his company has to meet high climate protection requirements, while other economic sectors do practically nothing?” he said.

The ICAO deal “is by no means ambitious”

Peter Liese voiced reservations on the system proposed by the Commission for flights to third countries. “There is now a decision by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to introduce a climate protection instrument for air traffic, but this is still burdened with many questions and is by no means ambitious. However, the Commission is now proposing to exclude intercontinental flights from the EU ETS on a permanent basis. This is problematic”.

“I therefore propose a compromise. We should continue to exempt intercontinental flights until 2021, but then reinstate them if the ICAO rules are not clear. We should also include flights to countries which, like Russia, refuse to join the ICAO agreement” he said.

“This may be an annoyance for Russia and possibly for the US, but it is legally possible. Neither M. Putin nor M. Trump should determine what we are doing in Europe” he concluded.


Next steps

The legislative proposal will now be examined by EU co-legislators, Parliament and Council.

Note to editors


The “stop-the-clock” legislation adopted in 2014 on which Peter Liese was rapporteur, suspended the application of ETS to intercontinental flights up to 2016 in order to give more time to ICAO to act at global level. The ETS would be applied to international flights again from 2017 onwards in case there was no agreement in ICAO on a GMBM.