The European Commission has, today, taken an important step in preparing for the full inclusion of aviation in the EU's emissions trading system (EU ETS) from 1 January next year.
The European Commission has, today, taken an important step in preparing for the full inclusion of aviation in the EU's emissions trading system (EU ETS) from 1 January next year. The European Commission has decided on the historical aviation emissions which will be used to calculate the number of aviation allowances to be available from 2012.
Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: ''Emissions from aviation are growing faster than from any other sector, and all forecasts indicate they will continue to do so under business as usual conditions. Firm action is needed. By publishing the data on which allocations will be based, we prepare for the full inclusion of aviation in the emissions trading system. ''
The decision on historical aviation emissions of 219,476,343 tonnes of CO2 represents the average of the estimated annual emissions for the years 2004, 2005 and 2006 of all flights that would be covered by the EU ETS performed by aircraft operators to and from European airports. Based on this figure for average annual aviation emissions in 2004-2006, the number of aviation allowances to be created in 2012 amounts to 212,892,052 tonnes of CO2, and the number of aviation allowances to be created each year from 2013 onwards amounts to 208,502,525 tonnes of CO2.
The calculation of historic aviation emissions was based on data from Eurocontrol – the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation - and actual fuel consumption information provided by aircraft operators. Additional calculations were carried out to account for fuel consumption associated with the use of the auxiliary power units (APUs) on aircraft at airports.
EU emissions from aviation have increased fast – almost doubling since 1990. It is estimated that one passenger, flying from Brussels to New York and back in economy class generates in the order of 800 kg of CO2.
To mitigate the climate impacts of aviation, the EU has decided to impose a cap on CO2 emissions from flights operating to and from EU airports. From the start of 2012, some 4,000 aircraft operators arriving and departing in the EU will be covered by the EU ETS. Like industrial installations, airlines will receive tradable allowances covering a certain level of CO2 emissions from their flights per year. Aviation represents around 10% of greenhouse gas emissions covered by the EU ETS.
The inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS is expected to have only a minor impact on ticket prices. If an airline would charge customers for the full CO2 price, with the current carbon prices, the price of an economy class return ticket from Brussels to New York would rise by some twelve euro.
Later this year, as foreseen in the EU ETS Directive, the Commission will formally determine the amounts of emission allowances to be auctioned, to be distributed free of charge to aircraft operators and to be allocated to a special reserve for new entrants. The EU ETS Directive states that Member States should use all auction revenues from aviation allowances to tackle climate change, including in the transport sector, and to adapt to the effects of climate change.