EU parliament approves deal on airline emissions

July 8th, 2008 - 9:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Strasbourg (France), July 8 (DPA) All flights starting and landing in Europe will be included in an European Union (EU) Emissions Trade System from 2012, following a vote in the European Parliament Tuesday. Legislators gave their overwhelming approval to a compromise with the EU Council of Ministers, allowing the plan to come into force in four years’ time.

Peter Liese, the parliament’s rapporteur on emissions, called the move “revolutionary.”

He said it would apply not only to European flights and airlines but to intercontinental routes and carriers from the US and China when they start and land in Europe.

Experts expect the measures, which are designed to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, will lead to an increase in fares.

Under the plan, 85 percent of the emissions certificates are to be allocated for free according to a common European benchmark. The remainder will be auctioned.

Revenues generated from the auctioning of emissions allowances will be used to fund efforts to combat climate change, research on clean aircraft, anti-deforestation measures in the developing world and low-emission transport such as trains or buses.

Airlines with fuel-efficient planes will benefit from the new measures, said Liese, while those with older fleets of environmentally unfriendly aircraft will have to pay more.

Under the scheme, airlines will receive rights to emit a specified tonnage of carbon dioxide annually.

If they fall below their allocation, by using a modern fleet of aircraft, for example, they can sell off their unused emissions.

Airlines who emit more than allowed will be required to buy more emissions rights permits.

Germany’s European Parliament member Holger Krahmer called the plan “an illusion”.

“Even if it is possible to convince the US of the value of such a trading scheme, there are other countries who simply do not want to know,” he said.

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