> F.A.Q.
> Business Aviation
> Aviation EU ETS
> ​Everything about the European Commission's proposal for the future of the EU ETS

​Everything about the European Commission's proposal for the future of the EU ETS

On 16 October 2013, the European Commission (EC) proposed to amend the EU ETS so that aviation emissions would be covered for the part of flights that takes place in European regional airspace.

The adjustment in the legislation would apply from 1 January 2014 and until a global market-based mechanism (MBM) becomes applicable to international aviation emissions by 2020, as planned by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)'s 38th Assembly resolution.

The key features of the revised EU ETS resulting from this proposal would be as follows:
  • All emissions from intra-European flights (i.e. flights between airports in the European Economic Area (EEA, covering the 28 EU Member States plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein)) would continue to be covered.
  • From 2014 to 2020, extra-European flights (i.e. flights to and from countries outside the EEA) would benefit from a general exemption for those emissions that take place outside the EEA airspace.
  • In other words, from 2014 to 2020, only emissions from the part of extra-European flights taking place within EEA airspace would be covered.
  • As a transitional period, in 2013, only emissions from intra-European flights would have to be reported (continuation of stop-the-clock derogation for another year, except flights between the EEA and Switzerland which would now be excluded unless Switzerland joins the EU ETS).
  • To accommodate the special circumstances of developing countries, flights to and from third countries which are developing countries and which emit less than 1% of global aviation emissions expressed in international RTK would benefit from a full exemption from 2014 to 2020.
  • These developing countries are the Low-income and Lower-middle-income economies as defined by the World Bank with the exception of India which is above the 1% threshold. The exemption would apply to the flights between EEA and these countries; it is not a general exemption for airlines of these countries.
  • Non-commercial small emitters emitting below 1000 tCO2 (considering all Annex 1 flights, i.e. including both intra- and extra-European flights, and including emissions from both within and outside the EEA airspace) would be exempt from the EU ETS.
  • Both 2013 and 2014 annual emissions reports would have to be submitted to the Competent Authority by March 2015 (exceptional two-year compliance period).
The EC would like to see the proposal agreed by the European Parliament and the Council by March 2014 to provide clarity for aircraft operators, that would otherwise have to surrender allowances for their emissions on all Annex 1 flights in 2013 by 30 April 2014.

We strongly recommend all operators to prepare their 2013 annual emissions report (covering intra-European flights only) and to complete the verification during the first quarter of 2014 as usual.

Please note that this is only a proposal put forward by the European Commission which will now go through the legislative process where numerous amendments should be expected.

» European Commission's web site
» European Commission's press release / video
» Complete legislative proposal
» Q&A from the European Commission
» GreenAir Online article
» World Bank low-income and lower-middle income countries definition


Proposed geographical airspace coverage of the EU ETS from 2014 onwards :


ENVI Committee supports the Commission's proposal

On 27 November, Dr. Peter Liese, a Member of the European Parliament (EP) from the Environmental Committee and the rapporteur on the inclusion of Aviation in the EU ETS, proposed to strengthen the Commission's proposal by :
  • Requesting Member States to use revenues generated from the auctioning of allowances for efforts to tackle climate change;
  • Proposing that the limitation of the EU ETS to European airspace only applies until the next ICAO Assembly in 2016 in order to sustain momentum reached at the 2013 ICAO Assembly and to facilitate progress at the next Assembly;
  • Proposing to decrease the percentage of free allowances from 85% to 60% from 2015 onwards due to the proposed reduction of the geographical scope;
  • Proposing to decrease the cap by a linear factor of 1.74% from 2015 onwards to achieve a better environmental effectiveness of the aviation's inclusion in the EU ETS.

If as foreseen a legally binding market-based mechanism (MBM) that covers the majority of international aviation emissions is agreed at the 2016 ICAO Assembly, Peter Liese proposes that the Commission should make a new proposal to draw the necessary consequences. This could be similar to the original EU ETS so emissions for 100% of all flights to/from/within Europe are included.

» Related GreenAir Online article


TRAN and ITRE Committees propose to extend stop-the-clock (STC)

The rapporteurs from the Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) and the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) of the European Parliament published their reports on the Commission's proposal.

The rapporteur from the TRAN Committee proposes to extend STC until at least 2016 and to 2020 if the next ICAO assembly agrees to introduce a global MBM from that date. Should there be no such agreement, an airspace approach would be adopted from 2017.

The Rapporteur from TRAN adds: "Such an approach would maximise the chances of reaching an international agreement without calling into question the EU's right to regulate its own airspace, a right guaranteed by the Chicago convention and upheld by the Court of Justice. The EU would be showing international partners its readiness to work constructively in international and bilateral negotiations. It would also be indicating that it expects ICAO to deliver on its commitment to reach a decision in 2016 and that further delay would not be acceptable."

The rapporteur from the ITRE Committee also suggests to continue the STC provisions until the ICAO general assembly in 2016 "in order to get a real global solution that will be truly beneficial for the climate and all the actors involved."

Download ITRE report
Download TRAN report


The European Council is also calling for an extension of STC

France, Germany and the UK seem to be supporting an extension of STC in order to encourage the path to a global MBM in 2020. A UK spokesperson said: "The UK objective for the current negotiations on Aviation EU ETS is for the Member States to reach agreement with the European Parliament by next April on a scope which will achieve a high level of compliance and reduce the risk of international retaliation, with a view to facilitating an agreement in 2016 on a global market based measure for aviation emissions."

» Related GreenAir Online article Back to all F.A.Q.