European Union to Place Emissions Cap on All Flights in 2012
November 5, 2008
The European Union (EU) adopted a directive in late October that will place a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from all flights arriving at or departing from EU airports, starting in 2012. The allowable emissions will start at 97% of the annual average emissions from 2004-2006, and they will be reduced by 5% each year after that. The cap-and-trade scheme will provide 85% of the emissions credits for free and then will auction off the remaining 15%, using the proceeds to support research in low-emissions transport, but also to tackle climate change in the EU and third-world countries. The rule includes some exemptions and some allowance for new or fast-growing airlines, but it does not exclude flights coming from other countries, such as the United States. And while the EU sees the directive as a first step toward a global agreement on aviation greenhouse gas emissions, the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) expressed harsh opposition to the directive, calling it "contrary to international law and bad policy." See the EU press release and directive (PDF 219 KB) and the ATA press release. Download Adobe Reader.