Moscow Meeting Adopts Declaration on Inclusion of International Civil Aviation in the EU-ETS

Moscow Meeting Adopts Declaration on Inclusion of International Civil Aviation in the EU-ETS (photo courtesy of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation)22 February 2012: A group of 23 countries meeting in Moscow, Russian Federation, adopted the Joint Declaration of the Moscow Meeting on Inclusion of International Civil Aviation in the EU-ETS, which outlines the participants' shared position that the EU and its Member States must cease application of the Directive 2008/101/EC to airlines and aircraft operators registered in third States. Under the Directive, international civil aviation was included in the EU-Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as of 1 January 2012.

The Moscow meeting, which took place from 21-22 February 2012, brought together representatives from Armenia, Argentina, Azerbaijan, the Republic of Belarus, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Chile, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Malaysia, Nigeria, Paraguay, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda and the US.

In their Joint Declaration, meeting participants decide to: urge EU Member States to work within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on a multilateral approach to address international civil aviation emissions; exchange information on the measures adopted and to be adopted by each non-EU Member State; and continue common efforts to make progress at ICAO to address international civil aviation emissions.

During the meeting, Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin stressed that market-based measures for aviation emissions can only be taken by all parties and within the framework of ICAO. He expressed concern that EU Directive 2008/101/EC conflicts with the principle contained in Article 1 (sovereignty) of the Chicago Convention, and highlighted that efforts made by the Russian Federation to reduce pollution from the effects of civil aviation are based on the recommendations of ICAO.

The Joint Declaration states that the inclusion of international civil aviation in the EU-ETS "leads to serious market distortions and unfair competition," and affirms the importance of the role of ICAO in addressing international civil aviation emissions.

Countries also decided to consider taking measures outlined in an attachment to the Joint Declaration, which include: initiating proceedings under Article 84 (settlement of disputes) of the Chicago Convention; barring participation of airlines and aircraft operators in the EU ETS; assessing whether the EU ETS is consistent with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements; and imposing additional levies on EU carriers and aircraft operators as a form of countermeasure. [Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation Press Release (in Russian)] [IISD RS Sources]