Climate Policy Brief 7, September 2012

Aviation Emission Norms under the EU-ETS.

Since January 2012, aviation has been included in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The Aviation ETS requires aircraft operators to surrender one allowance per tonne of carbon-dioxide emitted on a flight to and from (and within) the EU. This covers passenger, cargo and non-commercial flights and applies no matter where an aircraft operator is based. Each such airline would have to comply with a benchmark set by the EU on the basis of its average annual emissions in respect of flights to and from the EU.

One of the most controversial aspects of the EU measure is that it calculates an airline’s emissions from the point of take off; this means that a flight from New Delhi to London, which flies within the EU only for a few hours, would have to account to the EU for its emissions from New Delhi itself. EU’s rationale in putting in place the system, evidently, is to ensure that its own operators are not at a competitive disadvantage.

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