The European Parliament has voted to limit the emissions pricing exemption it makes available for flights to and from the continent until it receives more information on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme (CORSIA).
Legislators “also endorsed a number of reforms to aviation’s inclusion in Europe’s emissions trading scheme which will start to cut back on the sector’s special treatment on climate policy,” Brussels-based Transport & Environment reports.
“An indefinite exemption would have been a blank cheque to ICAO, and a reckless move given how little we know about how the global measure will operate, and how reliant it might be on the questionable practice of offsetting,” said T&E Aviation Manager Andrew Murphy. “Europe now has leverage to make aviation contribute to our collective climate efforts as proportionally as other sectors of the EU economy.”
A report to parliamentarians recommended exempting flights to and from Europe from the continent’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), but only until 2021, “thus bringing aviation into line with other sectors covered by the scheme,” T&E notes. That decision, reflecting “the need for aviation to cut its emissions,” amounted to “an important shift in the EU’s approach to aviation’s climate impact.”
“Today’s ETS vote is a strong signal that aviation emissions need to decline, and ultimately go down to zero,” Murphy said. “The question now shifts from ‘if’ to ‘how’ aviation decarbonizes.”