Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Emissions Trading System fails to take off

The introduction of an EU Emissions Trading System is in danger of running late because the European Commission has failed to keep up with its own timetable.

By David Millward Published: 7:19PM BST 17 Aug 2009
By 2012 nearly 4,000 airlines and other aircraft operators will be set a carbon ceiling above which they will be forced to trade in emissions permits. But much of the machinery needed for the scheme — under which airlines would be forced to trade carbon permits — is still not in place.
Under ETS, aviation as a whole will be set a cap based on the industry’s average CO₂ emissions between 2004 and 2006. Currently it is intended to limit the industry to 97pc of this figure in 2012, with the ceiling being lowered in later years. Airlines’ allowances, however, will be based initially on their individual emissions, with the figures being calculated from the beginning of January.
But there is still little agreement on how these figures will be calculated or airlines’ emissions monitored — even though the deadline for agreeing the plans is now just a fortnight away.
In Britain, the Environment Agency, which will be the competent authority responsible for monitoring, has already put the deadline back until early November, because it is still waiting for Brussels to publish the full list of aviation companies covered by the scheme. It will leave the Agency less than two months to approve the monitoring scheme which will set the cap for nearly 900 operators.
Other parts of Europe are facing similar problems.
There are question marks over the initial list of carriers produced by the Commission. Which, according to industry sources, is riddled with anomalies.
It includes non-EU airlines which do not even fly to the European Union, while others which do have been omitted from the list.
British Airways, which has supported the principle of a trading scheme, has voiced doubts about the current proposals, especially the plans to include flights from outside the EU.