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EU tells member states to push back on Corsia

venerdì, 20. settembre 2019 | Trading

Member states must defend the EU's right to tackle aviation emissions through policies additional to the UN aviation agency's planned global offsetting scheme (Corsia), the European Commission has said.

EU countries will attend a UN aviation agency (Icao) meeting this month in Montreal, Canada, where they will be asked to sign a resolution on Corsia, the agency's flagship policy to tackle aviation emissions.

The resolution, based on the wording of the latest draft, appears to prevent the EU from imposing its own policies on the aviation sector, once Corsia takes effect. This would mean the EU could no longer regulate aviation emissions through the EU emissions trading system (ETS).

The commission called on member states to "act in order to be sure that the assembly resolution cannot be interpreted as impinging on EU sovereignty during its work on Corsia implementation and revision of the ETS".

"We need to ensure a sufficient EU policy space to continue to pursue an ambitious climate policy for aviation in the EU," a commission official said.

The European Parliament's environment committee also urged member states last week to reject Icao's resolution if it will cost the EU the right to include aviation in the EU ETS.

The EU wants to pursue a more ambitious climate target than Corsia would allow. Emissions from intra-EU flights are regulated by the EU ETS, and contribute towards the bloc's aim for ETS emissions in 2030 to be 43pc below 2005 levels.

By comparison, Corsia aims to cap global aviation emissions at 2020 levels, but does not require the sector's emissions to decrease after this date.

The commission's president elect Ursula von der Leyen has also suggested tougher climate policy may be on the way for aviation. She wants the EU to adopt an economy-wide net zero emissions target, and has said that every sector, including aviation, must contribute to the goal.

One way to drive deeper CO2 cuts in the aviation sector would be to bring flights between European Economic Area (EEA) and non-EEA countries back into the carbon market. Countries including France and the Netherlands have also called for an EU-wide aviation CO2 tax, as a way to cut the sector's emissions.

Icao meeting

Discussions are ongoing between the commission and the European Council on how member states should respond to the resolution at the Icao meeting, which begins on 24 September.

One option being considered is for EU countries to file a reservation on the section of the resolution that appears to prevent the EU ETS from regulating aviation. This states that Corsia is "the only global market-based measure" that can apply to emissions from international aviation.

Filing a reservation would not mean the EU is withdrawing its support for Corsia. But it would effectively notify Icao that EU countries will not sign up to the scheme in its current form.

EU member states did this last year, telling Icao that they could not sign up to the Corsia rules because they conflicted with the EU ETS directive.

Participation in Corsia is voluntary from 2021 and mandatory from 2027. So far countries representing 77pc of global aviation activity have signed up to take part in Corsia's voluntary phase.

But large emitters including China have still not signed up. China and Russia sent a joint paper to Icao last month, warning that its proposed rules for Corsia "lack moral fairness" because they would make it harder for emerging economies to compete in international aviation.

Source: Argus