Aviation in Europe could take a new turn in the coming weeks. The Council and the European Parliament have agreed to revise the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) rules for the aviation sector. The Parliament's vote, therefore, foresees the phasing out of free emission allowances for the aviation sector.
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While Jean-Marc Jancovici is "limited to 3 or 4 flights in a lifetime", and Jean-François Rial is pushing for the planting of trees while pursuing the development of sustainable fuels (SAF), Europe has just found a compromise between the two.
Indeed, the Council and the European Parliament have agreed on a "provisional agreement to reduce emissions from flights", informs the Council of Europe press release.
The two European bodies have validated the revision of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) rules applicable to the aviation sector and airlines pollution.
Thus, it is expected that the ETS will apply to intra-European flights (including flights from the United Kingdom and Switzerland), thus allowing the airline industry to comply with the Paris agreements.
The new texts estimate that the reduction of CO2 emissions should be 55% by 2030 compared to 2005.
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The Council and the European Parliament have therefore agreed to phase out free emission allowances for the aviation sector, with the following targets: 25% in 2024, 50% in 2025 and 100% from 2026.
From 2026, these allowances will be fully auctioned.
Flights within Europe will therefore be subject to the carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS). Carriers will then be able to buy or trade rights to pollute.
Part of the proceeds (5 million allowances) will be used for the innovation fund, while 20 million free allowances will be issued to encourage the adoption of fuels "that are a promising way to decarbonize aviation in the short term".
Thus, the challenge is to force airlines to switch to sustainable fuels, by instituting a kind of tax applied on fossil fuels (the right to pollute).
"We have found a good balance between climate ambition for airlines and support for this sector to achieve this transition, with a tangible tool to help it decarbonize," commented MEP Suncana Glavak (EPP).
In addition, the agreement provides for the establishment of a monitoring system for effects other than CO2 from aviation. It will therefore assess the airlines pollution beyond the simple emissions of greenhouse gases.
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"The fact that the Commission did not support the Parliament's vote means that Europe's most polluting flights (long-haul flights and transfer passengers), which account for the majority of emissions from European aviation, will continue to be exempt from paying their fair share of ETS taxes.
“While the wealthiest Americans, Europeans and Asians who travel on long-haul flights pay no environmental taxes, the most price-sensitive European passengers and their families will be forced to bear the ETS," said Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair.