Aviation and emission trading: EU scheme extended to the EEA

Published 01-04-2011
On 1 April 2011, the EEA Joint Committee decided to incorporate into the EEA Agreement a directive that will include aviation activities in the EU trading scheme for greenhouse gas emissions (EU ETS), thus extending the scope of the scheme to the EEA EFTA States.

According to the European Union, the most cost-efficient and environmentally effective option for controlling aviation emissions is to include aviation activities in the EU ETS. From 2012, emissions from all flights between the 30 EEA States and all international flights that arrive at or depart from their airports will be covered by the EU ETS.

Airline operators will be required to surrender one allowance for each tonne of CO2 they emit during the reporting year. If the actual emissions of an airline operator are lower than its free allocated allowances, the operator will have the option to sell its surplus allowances on the market or to “bank” them to cover future emissions. If an operator anticipates that its emissions will exceed its free allowances, it can either take measures to reduce its emissions or buy additional allowances on the market.

Several other acts necessary to ensure the full functioning of the EU ETS for aviation from 2012 will have to be incorporated into the EEA Agreement in the coming months.

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