Decision to stop ETS for one year is “gesture of good faith”
The European Commission’s decision to exclude aviation for one year from its Emissions Trading System has come as relief to the aviation industry. The decision to “stop the clock” on ETS was “a gesture of good faith”, EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard said, taken in response to a council meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation last Friday. ICAO will now continue work on finalising a global scheme on tackling emissions.
“Our regulatory scheme was adopted after having waited many years for ICAO to progress”, Hedegaard said. “Now it seems that because of some countries’ dislike of our scheme many countries are prepared to move in ICAO, and even to move toward a Market Based Mechanism at global level.”
But the EU says it will not wait forever for ICAO to act. Hedegaard continued: “Let me be very clear: if this exercise does not deliver – and I hope it does – then needless to say we are back to where we are today with EU ETS. Automatically.”
IATA welcomed the EU’s announcement as “a significant step in the right direction. IATA chief Tony Tyler said: “The flexibility shown by the European Commission demonstrates that the ICAO process is working, and we look forward to seeing all parties working together to present positive proposals to the ICAO Assembly in September 2013.”
[pictured: contrails over France and the English Channel; photo courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC]