AIRLINES REELING AFTER EU CLIMATE CHANGE VOTE
MEPs ADOPT GREEN PROPOSALS TO CUT FLYING’S IMPACT ON CLIMATE
AIRLINES have been left reeling after a vote in the European Parliament
called for a raft of measures to tackle their growing contribution to
Euro-MPs in Strasbourg voted by 439 to 74 to adopt proposals drafted by
Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas to introduce a range of measures including an
airlines-only CO2 Emissions Trading Scheme and emissions charges to tackle
their non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions. There were 102 abstentions.
Dr Lucas told fellow MEPs the EU must take action to curb airlines’
greenhouse gas emissions if we are to stand any chance of avoiding
devastating climate change: “Doing nothing just isn’t an option”.
"The aviation sector is growing fast – aircraft movements are predicted to
double by 2020 and triple by 2030 - and technological efficiency gains just
aren't enough to counteract the massive increases in emissions that this
“We simply have no choice but to clip the airlines' wings and force them to
reduce their impact on the climate, if we are to stand any chance of cutting
our emissions by the level that’s needed to halt the deadly march of climate
"Airlines currently enjoy a complex array of tax breaks and hidden subsidies
- worth more than £9 billion in the UK alone - which are long outdated and
totally incompatible with global climate goals. International progress on
removing these and getting the industry to pay its way has been pitifully
slow, which is why we must ensure the EU really paves the way for global
action by introducing the most effective legislation possible.
“Emissions trading has the potential to play a role in reducing the climate
change impact of aviation - but only if it is accompanied by other measures
to tackle the fact that aircraft emissions are two to four times more potent
than those from other industries (because of the altitude at which they are
emitted, and the effects of non-CO2 emissions like condensation trails and
nitrogen oxides) – and, crucially, only if it doesn’t allow airlines to
carry on business as usual by gobbling up the emission rights of other
MEPs have been intensively lobbied by the airlines in recent weeks – with
most calling for air travel to be included in the EU’s existing Emissions
Trading Scheme: a measure which will do little to deter airlines’ future
emissions growth. Even Andrew Sentance, BA’s head of environmental affairs,
openly admitted as much last week.
Dr Lucas’s report will now form the Parliament’s submission to the EU
Commission’s forthcoming legislative proposals – which could be on the EU
statute book by 2008.
“At a time when few now deny the urgency of addressing climate change, the
rapid growth in flying threatens to throw all efforts to reduce dangerous
emissions off course,” added Dr Lucas, who is also an MEP for South-East
England and Green Party Principal Speaker.
“We must work together to find ways of making the aviation industry reduce
its social and environmental impact, rather than draining tax payers’ cash
as it continues to generate pollution, noise, congestion – and climate