Alec Hills - Jan 4, 2007

EU plans to fight global climate changes by including air travel in the European Union"s carbon emissions trading scheme. According to Brussels, all flights within the EU should be included in 2011. Speaking of international flights, they will be given one more year to deal with it. According to Stavros Dimas, the EU environment commissioner, the air transport produces more emissions than any other industry. The air transport is also growing at a very fast pace. The airlines" emissions had risen by 87% since 1990. Some 3% of the EU"s greenhouse gas emissions are created by airlines and the amount is expected to double by 2020.



According to U.S. officials the plan breaks international aviation law. U.S. spokesman Robert Gianfranceschi says that "The inclusion of non-EU airlines on a non-consensual basis runs counter to EU member states" legal obligations under the Chicago convention on international civil aviation and their bilateral air transport agreements, including with the U.S.", but according to Stavros Dimas "We wouldn"t do something we believed would be successfully challenged in the courts"



The plans would increase the prices of flights. An internal EU flight could cost some €8 more and an international flight could cost €40 more. The trading scheme would make it possible for an airline that cut emissions to sell the permits they did not need. And vice versa, if they need more permits they would have to buy more permits from another airline or other industries. This pressure should make them to use low-carbon technology.



Most of European airlines agree with the plan for another way to deal with the emissions is higher aviation taxes. On the other hand, environmentalists think that EU is not doing enough. They would like the EU to end the tax exemption on jet fuel.


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