EU Zeroes In on Aviation Inclusion into CO2 Scheme
The European Parliament on Tuesday voted on a detailed plan to include aviation in the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS), a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade system that has been in place since 2005 for ground-based facilities such as coal-fired power plants. Final approval of the text in the EU lawmaking machinery is expected by year-end. Current plans start with requiring the operators of all aircraft in 2012 to cut emissions by 3 percent over their 2004 to 2006 average. They will receive 85 percent of their allowances for free; the rest are auctioned. With some exceptions, all aircraft, including business jets and turboprops, taking off or landing in the EU are included, although aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds are exempted. “Small airline companies producing low emissions” are also exempt. The European Business Aviation Association is offering to form a pool of business jet operators as an alternative means of compliance, in an effort to keep the administrative burden acceptable for small companies. The average business jet operator is expected to emit a few hundred metric tons of CO2, while the EU ETS currently caps annual CO2 emissions from all other sources at approximately 2 billion metric tons.