European Carbon Regulation for Airlines Takes Off
2012 started with some good news. On Sunday, the European Union began charging all airlines flying into and out of Europe for their carbon emissions. Covering a third of all global flights, this new scheme is one of the widest-reaching measures adopted lately by any country or regional bloc to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Given all the hurdles and protest it faced, the fact that this scheme actually began is not just an incredible accomplishment for the EU, but also a bit of a miracle. The new scheme will make all airlines flying to, from or within the EU liable for their CO2 emissions. They will receive tradable carbon allowances, covering a certain amount of CO2 emitted each year, based on historic data. Carriers that exceed their limit will be able to buy allowances from other carriers that have emitted less than allowed. The EU believes this cap and trade scheme is the fairest way to cope with aviation’s contribution to global warming and incentivize airlines to reduce their footprint, which represents about 3 percent of global CO2 emissions.
Of course, airlines won’t be the first ones to join the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The scheme, which began in January 2005 as the first emissions trading scheme to regulate GHG emissions, applies to power generators, steelworks and other heavy industry in Europe. The main difference is with the new regulations is that this is the first time companies operating outside the EU will have to comply with the ETS. The EU didn’t have much choice about it, as it didn’t and probably couldn’t regulate just European airlines, because that would give all the other airlines an unfair competitive advantage. Yet, by deciding to regulate everyone, the EU made every airline outside Europe angry. Very angry.
For further information: http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/01/european-carbon-regulation-after-overcoming-worldwide-resistance/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TriplePundit+%28Triple+Pundit%29&utm_content=Google+Reader
Photo: Image credit: caribb, Flickr Creative Commons