Factor

EU sticks with ETS tax because planned ICAO offsets are not trustworthy

viernes, 11 de agosto de 2017 | Trading

Airlines globally will lobby the EU to drop its emissions trading scheme (ETS tax) ahead of the January launch of a global carbon offset scheme, but the EC says it will retain its tax, which covers all flights within, to and from the EU - even though affected airlines may then have to pay twice for their emissions growth.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) signed off the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (Corsia) last year. From 2021, participating airlines will pay to offset all emissions above levels measured in 2020 - and not unreasonably, they hoped the new scheme would encourage the EU to drop the unpopular ETS tax.

Unambitious

But Rasa Sceponaviciute of the EC directorate general for Climate Action said: “Corsia is a start, but we still don’t know how it will work. Stabilising aviation emissions from 2020 does not seem very ambitious.”

Sceponaviciute also said the EC scheme had “encouraged ICAO on this” and criticised the use of offsetting for emissions reduction saying: “We stopped accepting offsets in the ETS because we don’t trust them. Some [offset] projects do not deliver reductions,” adding that for Corsia to work, “there have to be regular reviews” and “emissions reductions need to be real, permanent and additional”.

As we said in this week's article 'As aviation's numbers double, what will environmentalists do with the 'jumbo' in the room?', offset schemes are 'a conjuring trick' as well as being notorious for bad accounting and questionable valuations.

Put simply, offsetting allows airlines to claim zero emissions if they plant crops in quantities sufficient to absorb as much carbon as their jets emit. However, offsetting often fails to take into account the 'carbon cost' of planting - including manufacturing the vehicles needed for delivery, the fuel needed to deliver the seedlings or saplings, the impact of clearing the land to make it suitable for the new crops - and it also often overestimates the total quantity of carbon absorbed.

Double hit

Now, with both schemes on the table, the Sustainable Aviation coalition wants “urgent conversations between airlines and governments” to avoid carriers  paying for both the EU and Corsia schemes.

IATA environment policy manager Michel Adam confirmed airlines regard the EU scheme “as a tax” and need a global scheme “because they don’t want to have to report to 100 different authorities”.

Footnote: The EU requires individual member states to collect the ETS tax from airlines (each member is made responsible by the EU for selected carriers that fly to or from its airports). Presumably the UK will cease to be a participant in the ETS when it exits the EU.

Source: impactpub.com.au