MEPs asked to give global talks to limit aviation emissions chance to take off

MEPs should facilitate talks on a global deal to limit aviation emissions by approving plans to exempt intercontinental flights from the EU's emission trading system for one year, according to the EP's environment committee. According to their report adopted on Tuesday this exception should only be extended if clear and sufficient progress has been made on such a deal. We talked about it with Peter Liese, who is responsible for steering the plans through Parliament.

Peter Liese
Peter Liese: "We want to use the opportunity to get a solution at an international level."

Some time ago EP overwhelmingly supported the inclusion of aviation into the EU's emission trading system. Why do we now accept allowing international flights to be temporarily excluded from EU carbon trade?

The Stop the Clock proposal which we adopted doesn't mean at all that we give in on our principal point. We just want to use the momentum created by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and use the opportunity to get a solution at an international level. I think it's very important to take away the excuses of third countries that claim that the European Union is not ready for an international agreement.

What changes did you add to the Commission's proposal?

We have introduced the provision on earmarking of the revenues. This has always been the position of the European Parliament. Money generated by auctioning should be spent fighting climate change, for example through research in clean aircraft or projects in developing countries. Third countries may react positively to such an earmarking.

Moreover Stop the Clock applies only for one year. Only if a substantial result is achieved at ICAO level, are we ready to further amend our legislation.

What if ICAO does not reach a global agreement on aviation emissions or a global agreement is not sufficient enough: will the EU extend the derogation?

We will not be ready to extend the derogation if we don't have a satisfactory result in September this year at the ICAO general assembly. Of course, we are willing to compromise and nobody can achieve 100%, but what we need is an agreement on a global, market–based measure. It will probably not be in place in 2014, but the timeline must be clear.

If there's no result at ICAO, the current situation will automatically apply again. I don't see any majority in Council and Parliament for further derogation.