EU to exempt international flights from ETS until 2024

EU lawmakers reached a provisional agreement on Wednesday (Oct. 18) to extend the suspension of extra-European flights from the European emission trading scheme until 31 December 2023.

In September the European Parliament voted to prolong the exclusion of intercontinental flights from the EU ETS until the end of 2020, the date the ICAO’s global aviation scheme (named CORSIA, Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) is expected to enter in force.

Since 2014, the EU ETS applies only to intra-EEA flights, in order to facilitate progress in the negotiations within the ICAO.

In 2016 the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) settled an agreement to establish a global market-based measure to offset CO2 emissions from the international aviation sector. The is planned to start from 2021 on with a pilot phase until 2023.

The regulation agreed on Wednesday allows for more time to assess the efficacy of the ICAO’s global aviation scheme and foresees the application of the Linear Reduction Factor, as set out in the ETS directive, to the aviation sector from 2021 onwards.

The decision to further postpone the deadline for international emission received criticism from advocacy groups. “Stalling European climate action in the aviation sector because of a weak international deal doesn’t do justice to the climate,” said Kelsey Perlman, Aviation Policy Officer at Carbon Market Watch. “ To address the soaring emissions from flying, we urgently need other policies, including an end to subsidies, tax breaks and generous state aid.”

The file addressing the aviation sector’s obligations under the ETS also includes EU strategies to safeguard the carbon market if Britain leaves the emissions trading scheme as a result of Brexit. It has to be adopted by the Parliament and the Council before becoming law.


(Image: Air China B-2471 takeoff SFO runway 28R. Photo credit: dsleeter_2000/Flickr)