No backing away on emission cap for aviation sector: EU


New Delhi : The European Union (EU) will not back away from its decision to put a charge on carbon emissions from airlines from January 2012 but it is ready to address concerns of its global partners, a top official said Tuesday.

“In fighting today’s climate change in Europe we are serious. So we want that each economic sector should contribute to fight climate change. The decision was taken in 2008 that aviation sector should also share this,” EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said.

EU’s proposal to cap planet-warming gases under its emission trading system makes it mandatory for airlines flying into its airspace to buy carbon credits equivalent to the carbon dioxide emitted by their aircraft.

Emission cap on aviation sector has become a legislation and there is no chance of backing away despite several countries, including India, protesting against it and calling it inconsistent with international law, Potocnik said.

“We are committed to fight climate change and we believe it is an indiscriminatory legislation that we have adopted. We are open to continue discussing with our global partners and if the global agreement would be a bit different we are ready to accommodate it,” he said during an interaction here.

It is necessary for aviation sector to join other economic sectors to fight climate change as it is an increasing part of economic activity which cannot be ignored, the commissioner said.

EU emissions from aviation have increased fast – almost doubling since 1990. Aviation represents around 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions covered by the EU emission trade system.

“It is not a system which we are imposing. It’s about our space and we think that if we want to seriously deal with climate change, we need to take such measures,” he said.

From 2012 onwards, under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) airlines will need to hold permits to emit tonnes of carbon above a certain cap, facing stiff penalties (potentially including being banned from operating in the EU), should they fail to comply.