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European Parliament puts off regulating international aviation under EU ETS

Today, the European Parliament’s plenary voted to extend the exclusion of intercontinental flights from paying for carbon emissions as part of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) until 2016. Carbon Market Watch criticises the vote that gives in to international pressure and undermines the EU’s commitment to tackle aviation emissions.

In a highly controversial vote, the European Parliament’s plenary voted in support of extending the 2012 derogation for intercontinental flights from inclusion in the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). Carbon Market Watch regrets that members of the European Parliament voted 458 to 120 with 24 abstentions to delay essential emission reductions in the aviation sector in exchange for a promise that an international agreement will take effect as of 2020.

Members of the Environment Committee who voted against the proposal on 19 March expressed deep concerns that the EU undermines its own legitimacy to cover emissions in EU airspace because of international pressure. Moreover, in a heated debate prior to the vote, climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard urged the Parliament’s plenary to exempt international flights from paying for their carbon emissions, retreating from its own proposal that initially sought to regulate emissions from all flights landing and taking off from EU airports.

Carbon Market Watch Director Eva Filzmoser commented: “There has not been a meaningful proposal to regulate aviation emissions internationally so far and today’s vote just got rid of the only option that respects the EU’s commitment to regulate international flights.”


Note to editors:

Aviation is the most carbon intensive mode of transport. If aviation emissions would represent a country it would be the 7th most polluting country in the world.

Read more on aviation emissions:

Policy Brief – Turbulence Ahead: Market Based Measures to reduce Aviation Emissions

Policy Brief – International Aviation: Addressing emissions while respecting equity issues

For more information contact: 

Eva Filzmoser – Director, Carbon Market Watch
Tel: +32 2 335 3661 / Mob: +32 499 21 20 81
Email: [email protected]


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