European Council Adopts Directive on Inclusion of Aviation in its ETS

27 October 2008: The European Council has adopted a

directive (document 3657/08) that includes aviation activities in the EU

greenhouse gas emission trading scheme (ETS).

The main objective of the new law

is to reduce the impact of aviation on climate change, given the rapid growth

of this sector. According to the directive, as of 1 January 2012, all flights

arriving at, or departing from, an EU airport will be included in the scheme.

Operators from all States providing such flights will therefore be included,

regardless of their nationality. The new legislation also contains provisions

that allow for its adjustment in case third countries adopt similar measures to

reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their aviation sectors. An emission cap is

established, with 85% of the allowances to be allocated as of 2013 free of

charge, and the remaining 15% to be auctioned.

The directive creates a special

reserve for new entrants or fast-growing aircraft operators, i.e. those that

can demonstrate a growth rate of more than 18% annually. Each member State will

determine the use to be made of its revenues from the auctioning of allowances,

but they should be used to tackle climate change in the EU and in third

countries, as well as to support research in the field of low-emissions

transport, particularly in aeronautics and aviation. [The