November 2022, Virtual
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Following ”robust and frank” discussions about the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the International Air Carrier Association (IACA) has called on member states to change the scheme voted on by MEPs in November
Airlines are arguing their corner before the European Council meets to consider the ETS on 20 December.
”The European Parliament should realize that their design of the ETS scheme for aviation, especially the closed trading scheme, is unsustainable,” said director general of IACA, Sylviane Lust.
”We urge member states to correct this punitive design and to carry out an impact study of a scheme in their individual countries. It is only by assessing the consequences of an ETS that we can achieve a scheme that is workable and affordable.”
The European Parliament voted for a 90% cap on emissions based on figures from 2004-2006 - for a scheme that will not start until 2011. The IACA argues any limit should be based on 2008-2010 emissions, allowing for industry growth in the meantime.
Parliament said each airline can buy non-aviation credits worth up to only 15% of its own emissions, while the IACA wants an open system at 100%. And a ”multiplier” makes other industries” credits twice as expensive for airlines.
Finally, Parliament says airlines should have to auction ” pay for ” 25% of their carbon credits, with the rest given free. The IACA wants this severely reduced to bring it more in line with current European ETS averages of around 1-3%.
The proposed system ”would damage the aviation sector beyond repair” it says, costing ”11bn ($16.2bn) of additional costs every year ”which they are unlikely to be able to absorb”.
The Association of European Airlines ” representing 31 scheduled network carriers ” called the proposed scheme "a massive blow to the viability and competitiveness of the European airline industry, a barely measurable step for the environment, and extremely bad news for European growth and cohesion".
It sees technological advances as the first step to curbing emissions, with airlines investing in greener engines and aircraft. The second step would be improvements to operational measures, and the third is an overhaul of air traffic control, which gives flights zig-zag routes to destinations and holding patterns above airports due to congestion, which burns a lot of extra fuel.
Once all these are taken into account, any shortfall to achieve a target would then be achieved through emissions trading.
”Our member airlines are committed to doing everything they can to further reduce their impact on the environment,” said AEA secretary general, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus.
”They have always endorsed the concept of emissions trading as a potentially useful tool for managing emissions, as part of a comprehensive strategy which should also involve operational, technological and infrastructural advances ” such as the long-awaited implementation of the Single European Sky, which should allow us to avoid unnecessarily emitting 12 million tones of CO2 emissions every year."
”Aviation accounts for 2% of global man-made CO2 emissions with European airlines' shares amounting to 0.5%. Knowing this, however, the EuropeanParliament has designed a scheme which will have a devastating effect, not only on our carriers' financial stability, but also on economic growth and tourism, and will result in a barely measurable reduction in CO2 emissions globally,” said Schulte-Strathaus.