MEPs stand firm on airline emissions

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The European parliament's environment committee appears intent on strengthening a European commission proposal to cut greenhouse gases from aviation, it became clear on Wednesday, though there is still argument over the degree of tightening.

A third debate on the commission's proposal to include airlines in the European emission trading scheme closely mirrored its predecessor at the end of June (EED 26/06/07). Rapporteur Peter Liese confirmed that most MEPs supported including all flights into and out of EU airports in the scheme from 2010.

More varied views persist on the carbon cap for airline emissions and how many of the sector's allowances should be auctioned. Mr Liese reiterated that a stricter cap than his proposed 90 per cent of 2004-6 emission levels is 'technically and politically not achievable'.

On auctioning the rapporteur said his 50 per cent proposal had received support from 'many'. Nevertheless, leading spokesmen from the Liberal and Green groups called for 100 per cent auctioning.

Disagreement persists on how to spend auctioning revenues, what benchmark to use to distribute remaining allowances, and whether a multiplier should compensate for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Several MEPs repeated calls for a limit on the allowances airlines can buy from outside the sector.

Many MEPs condemned a vote in the parliament's transport committee the previous day as a weakening of the plans (EED 13/07/07). This committee, subsidiary to the environment committee on this dossier, voted to delay inclusion to 2012 and backed a cap of 110 per cent of 2007-9 emission levels. It supported 20 per cent auctioning.

'The commission's proposal will only offset one year's growth of the sector's emissions,' João Vieira of green transport campaign group T&E said. 'The environment committee and the parliament's responsibility is to ensure that we actually see a reduction in emissions and that airlines don't get a free ride.

Courtesy of ENDS Europe Daily

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